ORCA BABY: Researchers’ first look at J57, newborn Southern Resident Killer Whale

(Photo: Center for Whale Research / Permit #21238 / WhaleResearch.com)

If we see the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales sometime soon here in central Puget Sound, look – from shore – for that new little one, J57. The Center for Whale Research has published its announcement about seeing the new calf (first reported by Lynda Mapes in The Seattle Times), accompanied by researchers’ photos (which we are republishing with permission).

(Photo: Center for Whale Research / Permit #21238 / WhaleResearch.com)

CWR believes Friday is the day J35 – at right, above, with the new baby and J47 – gave birth. Their researchers saw the newborn on Saturday in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. J35 is also known as Tahlequah, who broke hearts around the world two years ago by carrying her dead calf on her head for 1,000 miles before finally letting it go. Researchers knew she was pregnant again – orca gestation is 18 months – but she had not yet given birth as of researchers’ sightings in Haro Strait last Tuesday and Thursday, when they also saw the other expectant J-Pod orca, J41. In the Saturday sighting, CWR reports, the “new calf appeared healthy and precocious, swimming vigorously alongside its mother in its second day of free-swimming life.”

(Photo: Center for Whale Research / Permit #21238 / WhaleResearch.com)

CWR’s announcement adds, “We hope this calf is a success story. Regrettably, with the whales having so much nutritional stress in recent years, a large percentage of pregnancies fail, and there is about a 40% mortality for young calves.” For now, though, the SRKWs number 73, and advocates are hoping for a reduction in other stresses such as boat noise (we reported earlier this week on the request that U.S. whale-watching boats pledge to join their Canadian counterparts in not following the SRKWs).​

13 Replies to "ORCA BABY: Researchers' first look at J57, newborn Southern Resident Killer Whale"

  • Mon September 6, 2020 (10:28 pm)

    So precious!! I hope people will respect these wonderful creatures and give them space!!!

    • Also John September 7, 2020 (7:55 am)

      People won’t!   People will want to get as close as possible to catch a selfie with the calf in the background.  I’m being serious.     WSB needs to stop commenting when the whales are in the area.      Department of Fisheries also needs to close Chinook salmon fishing.   If I remember correctly Chinook are this pods only food source.  They don’t eat seals, sea lions, coho, pink or sockeye.  Sounds strange, but common.

      • Diaz Maristela September 7, 2020 (11:43 am)

        Agreed! And bettter yet arrest anyone who tries to disturb the pod.  suspend their boat license for a year and make them do community service at the whale research center or with salmon restoration programs. 

      • El Jefe September 8, 2020 (8:02 pm)

        John do you think they only eat Chinook? What do they eat the rest of the year?  Kings return April-Sept and there aren’t that many blackmouth which is why you will rarely see them here in the winter.  They spend most of their time off our coast not in the San Juans. Their best success will be to stop inbreeding. 

        • Donna, The Whale Trail September 8, 2020 (8:45 pm)

          El Jefe, the orcas don’t only eat Chinook salmon. Puget Sound fall/winter chum are an essential part of their diet, and what brings them to local waters October through January.

          NOAA studies show that they are opportunistic feeders – they eat halibut, black cod and many other kinds of fish. However, these make up a small part of their diet compared to salmon. And if multiple species of salmon are available, they prefer Chinook!

          Inbreeding is certainly a concern. Giving them more acoustic space will make it easier for them to forage and rear their young. We encourage all boaters to take the pledge and make it easier for them to find what food is there, and grow the population.

          Learn more here:

  • wseaturtle September 6, 2020 (10:34 pm)


  • Herongrrrl September 7, 2020 (2:09 am)

    Best news of 2020 so far!

  • Ant September 7, 2020 (8:34 am)

    I will file this in the nearly empty positive news of 2020 folder 

  • Trileigh September 7, 2020 (9:12 am)

    Best news of the year!!

  • RJ September 7, 2020 (10:19 am)

    This makes me so happy. Thanks WSB for the good news!

  • Shello September 7, 2020 (4:57 pm)

    Super   probably b cuz hardly no pollution for the last 6 months du to the carobank virus lowering pillusion levels dramatilly over the last 9 months ……the  Obe thing that izzz a positive  note mammals like these and the salmon they depend on CAN THRIVE with  ABUNDANCE due 2 the lowered pollution levels and lack of fisherman  tourists upheavaling the destitute  salmon population …let’s rally 2 CLISE CHINNOOK SALMON  TOURIST  LICENCES  4 good …at least 4 the new baby whale community 2 b able 2 EVEN KEEP EXISTING  !      Let’s keep posting the positives that latch on 2 viewers  hearts 2 enlay them with compassionately efforts 2 do the rallying nessecary to afloat this orca mammalian WEST COAST community ♡♡♡♡♡   LOVE EM TIL it hurts  !!!!  …

    • El Jefe' September 8, 2020 (8:03 pm)

      Huh? Spell Check?

  • Martha Pichla September 8, 2020 (2:39 pm)

    What a wonderful blessing!

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