The New Baby Whale in J Pod Brings Hope of Recovery for the Southern Resident Orcas

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“Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA) crews report today a new calf spotted among the endangered Southern Resident Community, the population’s fourth baby in three months. The birth was confirmed tonight by the Center for Whale Research.”
Photo by Jeanne Hyde
Photo by Jeanne Hyde

The Center for Whale Research  will report on the mother’s identity when she is identified. This brings the population of wild Southern Resident orcas to 81. There is one Southern resident orca in captivity (Lolita) so the total number of Southern resident orcas is actually 82.
March 30, 2015
Press release via Orca Conservancy from the Pacific Whale Watch Association  :

Pacific Whale Watch Association Crews Report Another Birth Today in Southern Resident Community, Its Fourth Calf in Three Months – Confirmed by Center for Whale Research
Newborn J-Pod calf seen today near Active Pass, BC.

Naturalist/researcher Jeanne Hyde was onboard with Captain Spencer Domico of Maya’s Legacy Whale Watching shortly after noon today watching the subgroup J16s with their three-month-old calf J50 off Galiano Island, BC.
“We were assuming we had only the J16s,” recounts Hyde. “And as they passed in front of the boat I saw a small calf surfacing next to J16 and said, ‘there’s the baby.’ But then J50 surfaced behind all the rest. That’s when I told Spencer, ‘I think there are two calves!”
The crew noted heavy fetal folds on the baby, which indicates that it was newborn.
Also out today with the newest addition to the Southern Resident Community were Capt. Jim Maya of Maya’s Legacy Whale Watching on San Juan Island, and Capt. Mark Malleson of Prince of Whales of Whales Whale Watching in Victoria.
“J-Pod is certainly doing all it can to rebuild the ranks,” explains Michael Harris, Executive Director of the PWWA, which represents 29 whale watch operators in Washington and British Columbia taking out about a half-million passengers a year. “The Southern Residents are a long way from being out of the woods, these calves too, but this is great news. We’re going to keep a careful watch on these babies and our fingers crossed – and of course continue to do everything we can to rebuild these salmon runs and feed these whales. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but it’s pretty clear the efforts PWWA and so many other groups are undertaking on both sides of the border on salmon recovery is taking us in the right direction. Let’s hope this baby boom means these endangered population has finally turned the corner.”
This latest addition would bring the Southern Residents to 81 individuals, with its 82nd member, the L-Pod whale Lolita, now in Miami Seaquarium.
HOW TO HELP: For all those who want to help the whales, become a Member of The Center for Whale Research! The Pacific Whale Watch Association is proud to be a longtime supporter of Ken Balcomb and his team. Help them help the whales.

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