New orca calf spotted among Southern Resident pod near Vancouver

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baby orca
@CWROrcas / Twitter

The Centre for Whale Research has released new images of the Southern Resident orcas with a new baby orca.

The black-and-white calf was spotted among the whales when TV stations in Seattle aired footage of the pod in Puget Sound on January 10.

Since then, the centre has confirmed that the calf, L124, belongs to mother, L77. L77 is 31 years old and gave birth to two calves previously. Sadly, the first calf died in 2010, but the second one, known as L119, is still alive and goes by the name of Joy.

While the sex of the new calf is unknown, researchers are hoping that it is a female.

“Approximately 40% of newborn calves do not survive their first few years, but we hope that this one makes it to maturity, especially if it is female. The Southern Resident killer whale population is now 75,” states a release from the Centre for Whale Research.

Researchers set off the following day, January 11, aboard the Morning Star to locate the pod. The group spotted the pod heading from the west side of San Juan Island to Discovery Island/Constance Bank. During their second encounter with the calf, they noted that it appeared to be about three weeks old. In addition, they noted how, “the new calf kept up well with L25, L41, L77, and L119 as they sped northwest.”

Have a look at some of the pictures they took that day.

baby orca
Centre for Whale Research / Photo by Dave Ellifrit
baby orca
Centre for Whale Research / Photo by Melissa Pinow
baby orca
Centre for Whale Research / Photo by Dave Ellifrit
baby orca
Centre for Whale Research / Photo by Melissa Pinow
baby orca
Centre for Whale Research / Photo by Dave Ellifrit