In the fall the Southern Resident orcas are frequently seen in Puget Sound, so if you live in the region you can watch for the new baby, the fifth born this year.
CWR Press Release:
Today there was another new baby in the L pod! L91 was first seen near Sooke, BC this morning with a very newborn calf, confirmed a few hours later by Mark Malleson off Victoria, BC and CWR staffers, Dave Ellifrit and Melissa Pinnow, and by colleagues Drs. John Durban, Holly Fearnbach, and Lance Barrett-Lennard.
These latter colleagues happened to be in the area conducting a sequel to CWR aerial measurements of all of the SRKW’s (Southern Resident Killer Whales), this time with a very sophisticated hexacopter (Unmanned Aerial System – UAS, or drone). The measurements were accomplished on the US side of the border as Dave and Melissa took numerous identification photographs from the research vessel “Orca” at a respectful distance.
The new calf is designated L122, and is the fifth new baby to come into the population since December, 2014. The mother and baby and other L pod whales spent the afternoon and evening in Haro Strait ‘fishing’, and by days end were joined by J and K pod members.
This is fantastic news, the population of Southern Resident orcas now stands at 79.
Great news! We finally have new calf in L pod. L86 was seen today by the Center for Whale Research (CWR) staff with a brand new calf who will be designated L120. This is the first new calf in the Southern Resident orca population since 2012.
The population has been in decline due to a suite of factors. The scientists point out that salmon availability is probably the main cause, but also included are the effects of toxins in the environment, sound pollution, and boat traffic.
We will be rooting for this little one, and will post photos as soon as possible.
Marineland in Antibes, France, is looking for suggestions for naming the month old calf born to 10 year old Wikie. This female calf is the result of artificial insemination by one of SeaWorld’s males, probably Ulises, and although she is the first calf born to a very young mother she seems to be doing well. Wikie’s own mother, Shakan, was an excellent mother and successfully raised calves before succumbing to an eye infection and dying in 2009 in her early 20’s – and usually the young females learn parenting skills from their mothers, much like we do. Born and raised in captivity, Wikie is able to help the calf in that environment (as opposed to wild-caught orcas who have had very limited success in rearing offspring in captivity).
To suggest a name, just go to their facebook page, you will have to “like” them then you can comment. It is in french but all you have to do is hit the comment icon as usual and enter your suggestions, make sure you are on the entry that says Grand Jeu : Proposez un prénom pour le bébé orque de Wikie . My french is rusty, but from what I can decipher, you have until April 26th to make your suggestions. Another peaceful protest-
Bebe d’enfant (baby from a child, since her mother was impregnated when she was way too young, in the wild orcas are not known to have calves this young).
Bonne Chance (good luck)
Conscience de soi (self aware – maybe saying this name will remind people that these animals are self aware and shouldn’t be kept in captivity)
Gold Mine (that is what she is to the industry)