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January 25, 2012 in Region
Associated Press/NOAA Fisheries photo

A transient killer whale with a tiny satellite device attached is seen swimming in Stephen’s Passage in southeast Alaska in this Sept. 2010 photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The device, about the size of a 9-volt battery with two darts, is barely visible low on the dorsal fin near the back and was authorized under a federal research permit. Federal biologists plan in February to attach the same devices on Puget Sound’s endangered orcas off the West Coast to better understand where they go during winter. But some whale experts worry the tags could injure the orcas. While dart tags have been used on other whale species, this is the first time they would be used on the southern resident killer whales that frequent the inland waters of Washington state and British Columbia.