Scientists who spent five years collecting and analyzing fecal samples from endangered killer whales near Seattle and Victoria found their diet consists almost solely of Chinook salmon in the summer, confirming the deep connection between them and salmon fishing's trophy catch.

Scientist Michael Ford of the Seattle-based Northwest Fisheries Sciences Center says DNA analysis of killer whale fecal matter confirmed more than 98 per cent of the July and August diet of the southern resident whales is salmon, particularly the Chinook salmon bound for British Columbia's Fraser River and its tributaries.

Scientists on both sides of the border say the study provides useful information to government officials tasked with managing whale recovery efforts and salmon stocks.

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