ORCAS: New calf born to Southern Resident Killer Whales

As noted in the comment section following this afternoon’s report on transient orcas’ visit, their cousins the Southern Resident Killer Whales have a new addition.

From the Center for Whale Research‘s announcement:

Following word that J, K, and L pod were in Haro Strait, CWR dispatched two boats with field researchers to photo-identify the new calf and as many other SRKWs as possible for our annual population census.

​CWR’s photo-ID expert, Dave Ellifrit, captured images that show L125 with fetal folds, indicating a relatively recent birth. “It is nicely filled out and appears to be a perfectly normal little calf,” said Ellifrit.

L125’s size and shape are typical of a calf in good physical condition. The new calf’s mother is L86 [born in 1991], her fourth offspring.

Drs. John Durban and Holly Fernbach (SR3) captured drone photos of L125 and, given its size, estimate it to be 1 – 1 1/2 months old.

L125 has one living sibling, L106 (male), born in 2005. L86 has given birth to two other calves: L112 and L120, both now deceased. L112 (born in 2009) was killed by blunt-force trauma during military exercises in 2012. L120 was born and died in 2014.

L125 is the first calf born into L pod since January 2019, when L77 gave birth to L124.

The last time the Center for Whale Research encountered Southern Resident orcas in the Salish Sea was January 20, 2021 (J and K pod). CWR’s most recent previous encounter with L pod was September 24, 2020.

The other calves born into J pod in 2020, J57 and J58, were observed today and looked to be doing well.

Both of those calves were born last September.

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