Great news is in store for BC’s endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population.
A newborn Southern Resident Killer whale calf was spotted with J Pod swimming off the coast of Tofino, 4 miles off Lennard Lighthouse.
On Thursday, May 30th, whale researchers John Forde and Jennifer Steven were out on the water with their private boat when they spotted the J Pod swimming near the lighthouse.
“It was bright orange, had fetal folds, and looked healthy and happy,” Steven told Victoria Buzz.
With a permit in hand, they shot some photos of the baby whale to send to the DFO and the Centre for Whale Research in Washington.
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According to Michael Weiss, field biologist at the Centre for Whale Research, the calf is less than a month old.
“In the photos we have, the calf is around three females, who are all around breeding age,” Weiss told Victoria Buzz.
“Any one of those could be the mother or none of them could be the mother. We hope to get down on the water with them soon.”
Weiss and his team operate out of San Juan Island in Washington which makes it difficult for them to get on the water and observe the pod at the moment, since they’re all the way up in Tofino.
“We are of course really happy there’s a new calf in J Pod, but we don’t have any more information at the moment,” added Weiss.
With the addition of this new calf, there are now a total of 23 J Pod orcas in existence.
Assuming no whales have disappeared and that there are no other newborns swimming around, there are now 76 Southern Resident Killer Whales in British Columbia.
According to Weiss, the last new SRKW calf, L 124 was spotted on January 11th, 2019.