A new Orca calf has been discovered among the Salish Sea’s J-Pod.
The Center for Whale Research received word that J-Pod was close to Landbank, San Juan Island in Washington state and there was possibly a new addition to the southern resident orca family.
The CWR photo-ID expert, Dave Ellifrit, found the whales near Kelp Reef and confirmed the new addition to J-Pod. The calf was next to J37, with J47 and J40 nearby.
CWR field staff last saw J37 during Encounter 12 on Feb. 11, and she did not have a calf at that time.
The CWR estimates this baby was born within just before March 1, given its “lumpy” physical nature.
Ellifrit captured images of J37 with her new baby travelling in a tight group with other family members. CWR designates this newborn as J59. J59’s sex is unknown at this time. Its size and shape are typical of a calf in good physical condition. J59 is the first calf born into J Pod since September 2020, when J41 gave birth to J58 (female).
The new mother, J37 (born 2001), is part of the J14 matriline and has two siblings, J40 (female, born 2004) and J45 (male, born 2009). She was a young mother, only 11 years old when she gave birth to her first calf in 2012: J49 (male).
READ MORE: Royal BC Museum extends orca exhibit through March
READ MORE: WSANEC leadership council announces orca monitoring program
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