Dead Juvenile Orca Found on Long Beach, Wa.

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Scientists examine the dead orca prior to necropsy.

The tide brought in an unwelcome sight on Saturday – nestled on the sand was the body of another young orca (the first was a young offshore type that washed up in November), possibly one of the Southern Resident population.
Although there is speculation that this is one of the L pod members, it is way too early to know – it could be another offshore or even a transient type.  Scientists rarely speculate on the origins until the necropsy results are in, but there are definite physical differences in the three types that may have indicated a higher probability that this in one of the Residents, so it is not the best news that they were willing to speculate in this case.
The only upside is that the body washed up where it could be found at all since usually the orcas just disappear and their deaths are only known when they fail to show up with their family members and/or are not observed during seasonal censuses.
Long Beach is close to the Oregon border, so officials from Seaside Aquarium were contacted.
From The Oregonian:

A dead orca washed ashore Saturday near Long Beach, Wash., just weeks after two other whales were found dead on the beach.
The 12-foot female orca washed ashore about a mile north of the Cranberry approach, Tiffany Boothe of the Seaside Aquarium wrote in an e-mail. She said that obvious external signs of decomposition confirmed the whale had been dead for a while, and the animal was moved for a necropsy, which was performed Sunday by Portland State University biology professor Debbie Duffield and Cascadia Research biologists.
The necropsy revealed hemorrhaging, indicating major trauma, Boothe wrote.
“Obvious external signs of decomposition confirmed that the animal had been dead for a while before washing ashore,” Boothe said. “The exact age of the whale has yet to be determined but the size indicates that the animal was no more than six years old and maybe as young as three.”
Scientists from the Network think it’s likely the whale was part of the L pod, which along with a handful of other pods are residents of the San Juan Islands off the Washington coast. Further DNA testing will be done on the female to confirm this, however.

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