Wandering young orca spends night in lagoon near paper mill

PORT ANGELES, Wash. — A Clallam County sheriff’s sergeant got a rare treat when he spotted a wandering killer whale Sunday night in Port Angeles.

According to a Facebook post from the Orca Behavior Institute, a transient orca, possibly T65A5, an 8-year-old male, had wandered through a small channel into the lagoon by the McKinley Paper Company.

Clallam County sheriff’s Sergeant John Hollis captured video of the orca moving around in the lagoon, which was possibly cut off from the Harbor due to low tide.

“You just never know who you might run into while on patrol! Sgt. Hollis had an encounter with a Killer Whale last night and was able to get this beautiful animal on video,” the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said.

The orca ended up staying overnight in the lagoon but was gone by morning.

“The orca has left the channel and returned to the Harbor and likely back to the Strait. Agencies are continuing to monitor the situation... We appreciate all of the support you give Feiro and the rest of the certified marine mammal stranding responders. Our staff have been on site literally all night long,” the Orca Institute said.

The young whale reportedly has been “periodically off wandering on his own since age 4.”

The orca was seen to the east earlier in the day with the rest of his family and must have wandered off sometime later, according to the Facebook post.

“Only time will tell where he will show up next and what new adventure awaits this unusual whale!” representatives with the Orca Behavior Institute said.