(Centre for Whale Research)

Grab the pink confetti—it’s a girl!

The gender of J Pod’s youngest calf, J59, has been revealed and she’s a female, according to Washington state-based Centre for Whale Research (CWR). 

On Thursday, CWR staff spotted J Pod—an endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale family—during an aerial observation in the Haro Strait, snapping photos and video footage of J59’s underside.

“Having another female is good news for the southern residents; the population’s growth is largely limited by the number of reproductively aged females,” wrote CWR in a post on its website.

J59 is the first newborn to join J Pod since September 2020—a group that totalled 24 whales, according to December 31st, 2021 CWR census data.

Together with K Pod and L Pod, whose populations sat at 16 and 33, respectively, a total of 73 Southern Resident Killer Whales were counted in the latest census.

“While one calf won’t save the population, we hope that J59 can grow to adulthood and contribute to future generations of southern residents,” CWR added.

In early March, photo-ID expert Dave Ellifrit was first to capture the calf on camera next to mom J37 near San Juan Island, about 12 miles east of Victoria.

CWR says J Pod is most likely to appear year-round in the waters of the Georgia Strait, San Juan Islands, Southern Gulf Islands, or lower Puget Sound near Seattle.

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