Another new baby for Puget Sound’s endangered orcas: Welcome, J51!

Another birth announcement for Puget Sound’s endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales – and, like the last one, this new baby has been spotted in J-Pod. Orca Network sent the news release and photo on behalf of the Center for Whale Research:

After spending the past two weeks near the west entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, J pod finally came back into the interior Salish Sea waters and showed off another brand new baby whale to the few observers that braved the mist and light rain and watched the whales swim by from land and from vessels at respectful distance.

Dave Ellifrit from the Center for Whale Research, and Jeanne Hyde who first heard the whales on Lime Kiln hydrophone this morning, embarked on the Center ‘s research vessel “Chimo” to Haro Strait while CWR Senior Scientist, Ken Balcomb, watched from shore and managed communications.

The late December calf, J50, with its J16 family were seen today as well; but, the big news is that J19 and J41 were swimming protectively on either side on another new baby that we estimate is about one week old. This newest addition to J pod is designated J51, and the presumed mother is thirty-six year old J19. Her ten-year old daughter, J41, was also in attendance. The newest baby appears healthy.

This brings us to twenty-six whales in J pod, the most viable pod in the Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population of the US and Canada Pacific Northwest. K pod has 19 individuals, and L pod has 34 individuals for a total population of 79 SRKW’s as of today. That number can change anytime with the birth or death of one of these charismatic whales.

12 Replies to "Another new baby for Puget Sound's endangered orcas: Welcome, J51!"

  • AHFamily February 12, 2015 (8:05 pm)

    Such wonderful news and very encouraging that this baby is being looked after by both mother and sister! Thanks for the beautiful photo — what an awesome motivation to keep working for a clean and vital Puget Sound.

  • diverlaura February 12, 2015 (8:18 pm)

    Oh happy dance! Maybe she should be named Valentine (or Valentino if its a boy) I know, I know, I’m a cliche, I can’t help it :)

  • NW February 12, 2015 (9:03 pm)

    Great news this makes me happy and keeps me motivated to do my part of keeping J pod’s home the Salish Sea a little cleaner by my placing containers in areas where people smoke giving them the opportunity to responsibly dispose of their butts. You wouldn’t believe it but right here in good old West Seattle Junction neighborhood I spent just an hour and in that amount of time last Monday evening picked up with my trash grabber around I guesstimate 10 lbs of plastics aluminum and glass debris from the street side and sidewalks in probably a 4 to 5 block area. Please get out and do your part also that was 10 lbs of debris which would have almost entirely over a span of time been broken down and gone into J50’s home.

  • WSobserver February 12, 2015 (10:38 pm)

    What a completely adorable photograph!

  • THANK YOU! February 12, 2015 (10:58 pm)

    NW – Thank you!

  • NW February 13, 2015 (7:38 am)

    A good majority of the litter I picked up I believe is generated from the garbage collection trucks themselves or thru debris not being properly contained when we take the trash out not necessarily you our neighbors littering, I have faith in you all. Thanks for the compliment I am going to continue to keep my attention towards news of J51.

  • heather February 13, 2015 (7:41 am)

    Ditto on @diverlauras happy dance!!

  • NW February 13, 2015 (9:32 am)

    Just heard on the Today Show that in 2010 some 8,000,000 metric tons of plastics entered the worlds oceans and that is equivalent to 5 grocery bags per square foot of the entire worlds coastline. Please rescue some from entering a storm drain near you.

  • Enviromaven February 13, 2015 (10:53 am)

    Right there with ya, Diver Laura! This is great news. I am so struck by the care and devotion these endangered creatures extend to each other.

  • Ray West February 13, 2015 (11:11 am)


  • seaopgal February 13, 2015 (5:17 pm)

    Great news, indeed … Long may J-51 thrive!

    Thanks, NW, for your work. Keeping plastic and pollutants (oil & pesticides) out of the storm drains is one of the best, cheapest, and easiest way we can help the endangered southern residents.

  • Rose De Dan February 13, 2015 (6:32 pm)

    Such wonderful news. Gives me hope that we are making progress in restoring the environment. Congratulations to J-pod!

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