A newborn killer whale, which entered the world about midday Monday, has become the latest member of J pod, one of the three pods that frequent Puget Sound.
The new calf was first spotted Monday afternoon along the west side of San Juan Island with its mother, J-37, known as "Hy 'Shqa," an 11-year-old female, according to Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research. The calf was designated J-49.
"It looked good," Balcomb said, describing a dorsal fin still in the process of unfolding after birth. "It was breathing regularly and looked healthy."
The mom had been seen alone in the late morning and then again with the calf at about 2 p.m., so it was assumed to be just hours old. Later in the day, the mom and newborn calf had caught up with other members of J pod, Balcomb said, noting that he heard reports that members of the pod were jostling the baby, as they typically do with a newborn in the community.
The new calf is the granddaughter of J-14, known as "Samish," and the likely great-granddaughter of J-2, known as "Granny." At 100 years old, Granny is believed to be the oldest orca in the local pods.
The three pods, also known as Southern Residents, are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The latest birth brings the number of orcas in J pod to 26, while the total population in all three pods is believed to be 86 individuals. In 1995, the total population was 98 before it declined to 78 in 2001 with varying numbers of births and deaths since then.
Most Popular Stories
- Marketo Makes a Mint in IPO: Stock Shoots Up More than 50 Percent
- Bieber Booed at Billboard Awards
- Georgia GOP Preaches Minority Outreach
- GM Joins Nissan to Supply Small Cargo Vehicle
- Ford's Supplier Diversity Program Turns 35
- Ford Trucks See Boost as Roadshow Reaches Saudi Arabia
- Kerry Concerned Over Blasphemy Laws, Anti-Semitism
- GM to Rejoin S&P 500, Akerson Says
- Ladies in White Group Needs Help From Abroad
- NTSB Wants to Lower Blood Alcohol Limit to 0.05