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Considering the complex classification of orca found in the North Atlantic, the Iberian orca would belong to the type of orca sighted in the Macaronesian Islands: (Canary Islands, Azores, Madeira, Cape Verde) and around the whole Atlantic coastline of the Iberian Peninsula.

There are main populations; Azorean, Canarian (CN) and Iberian (IB).

None of the populations cross the Strait into the Mediterranean Sea, if it happens, it's usually very rare and ends with orcas turning back soon or dying because of the lack of prey (The reason to their presence in this sea, being possibly explained by disease and/or disorientation).


Iberian Orca Area

The Iberian orca spends the spring months, until the beginning of autumn in the south of Portugal and the Gulf of Cádiz, reaching the Strait of Gibraltar.

At the beginning of autumn , they migrate to the north of the Peninsula, being sighted in the entire Portuguese coast and Cantabrian Sea (from the coast of Galicia to the Bay of Biscay ).

They have been seen as far away as in the Netherlands, with the 2022 stranding of IB6 - "Gala" in Cadzand's coast.
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2023. Cross-sightings between the Azorean and Iberian killer whale (Orcinus orca) populations. Paula Moreno. European Cetacean Society. 18th April. O'Grove, Galicia.

2013. Identifying key habitat and seasonal patterns of a critically endangered population of killer whales. Ruth Esteban, Philippe Verborgh, Pauline Gauffier, Joan Giménez, Isabel Afán, Ana Cañadas, Pedro García, José Luis Murcia, Sara Magalhães, Ezequiel Andreu, Renaud de Stephanis.


1988 Distribution of killer whales in the eastern North Atlantic Hammond, Philip & Lockyer, Christina.

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