A healthy calf is the latest known addition to the southern resident killer whale community and the newest baby born to L Pod in more than two years.
On Feb. 17, the Center for Whale Research announced the discovery of L125, the fourth calf of mother L86. Spotted by field researchers in the Haro Strait, L125 had fetal folds, which the centre said indicates a relatively recent birth.
Researchers said the calf’s size and shape indicate that it is in good physical condition and is likely about one to one-and-a-half months old.
“It is nicely filled out and appears to be a perfectly normal little calf,” said a statement from the Center for Whale Research photo-ID expert Dave Ellifit.
The centre found the newest pod member when they received word that J, K and L Pods were in the Haro Strait and dispatched teams to photo-identify whales for an annual population census. Two other orca calves born in 2020 – J57 and J58 – were observed and appeared to be doing well.
L125, the first calf born to L Pod since January 2019, has one living sibling – L106, born in 2005. The calf’s mother had two others who didn’t survive – L112 (2009), killed by blunt force trauma during military exercises in 2012 and L120, born and died in 2014.
The centre had not encountered L Pod since Sept. 24, 2020.