More hope for Puget Sound’s Southern Resident Killer Whales: Fifth baby orca in less than a year!

For the fifth time in less than a year, Puget Sound’s Southern Resident Killer Whales have welcomed a baby. The Instagram-shared photo above and news release below are from the Center for Whale Research:

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 day’s end were joined by J and K pod members.

In the forty-year history of ORCA SURVEY, a long-term photo-identification study of this whale population, the greatest number of calves born in a year was 9 in 1977, and there were none born that survived in 2013 or 2014. We hope this year’s ‘baby boom’ represents a turnaround in what has been a negative population trend in recent years.

The four babies born in the previous nine months:
*J52 in March
*L121 in late February
*J51 in mid-February
*J50 last December

6 Replies to "More hope for Puget Sound's Southern Resident Killer Whales: Fifth baby orca in less than a year!"

  • ACG September 7, 2015 (10:30 pm)

    Yay! What happy news!!!

  • Auntie Tokitae September 7, 2015 (10:58 pm)

    Wonderful news indeed! Best wishes to this little calf. Hopefully we people will help make its way in the world a little easier by protecting its home.

  • Enviromaven September 8, 2015 (9:32 am)

    Fabulous news!

  • Scott Herning September 8, 2015 (12:04 pm)

    There is a growing movement among the followers of the Southern Resident orcas to breach the lower Snake River Dams. Well over 200,000 folks support this initiative. President Obama was asked personally if he would consider the facts and put forth and executive order to breach. We need to show him more direct support by calling the White House at 202-456-1111. Call today and let him know that we can save orcas, salmon, millions in taxpayer dollars and the greatest salmon producing river system in the world. He can leave a political legacy in the American landscape.
    Learn more at

  • loveorcas September 8, 2015 (6:46 pm)

    This is such marvelous news! Fervently wish there were as many people as passionate about these amazing creatures as they are about other more mundane issues of everyday life!

  • RayWest September 10, 2015 (7:22 pm)

    Wonderful! Here’s hoping for more.

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