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THE KILLER WHALES OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

Written and produced by John Dee and Joe Dee; directed by
John Dee Florida State University, 1991. VHS cassette,
26:00 min., $300.00. Distributed by VEC/ Criterion Video,
75 Homer Ave., Unit I, Toronto, Ont., M8Z 4X5.


Grades 5 to 9/Ages 10 to 14

Reviewed by Wendy Zwaal

Volume 21 Number 2
1993 March


Prior to 1970, little was known about killer whales. However, in 1973, scientists began studying them. They found that with photo identification one could identify individual whales based on markings on their saddle patches and fins. Individual identification led to the labelling of two type of pods residents and transients.

As they live in one area, resident pods were studied extensively. They were found to have a permanent membership, feed mostly on fish, and vocalize a majority of the time. For a great deal of time little was known about transient pods, as they were not as easy to identify and study as the residents were. However, they have been found to be distinct from residents as they live in smaller groups, feed on marine mammals and vocalize considerably less.

The Killer Whales of British Columbia uses narration and interviews with experts and researchers to convey its information. The video assumes some background knowledge on the part of the viewer basic information concerning whales (e.g., pods, vocalization, and habitat) is not presented. The material is generally well organized and presented, except at the end, where a small section on the use of dead killer whales in research doe not seem to connect with the rest of the video's theme about residents and transients.

The technical quality of the video is excellent. The images of the whales are exemplary, and the audio is clear and includes both humans and whales. The video is interesting, well paced, and enjoyable to watch.

The video is recommended as an optional purchase. Although well done, it contains supplementary information on whales, and its purchase price may be prohibitive for many libraries.


Wendy Zwaal is a children's librarian at Newmarket Public Library in Newmarket, Ontario
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