Researchers with Fisheries and Oceans Canada have confirmed endangered southern resident orcas were spotted off Vancouver Island last week.
According to DFO Pacific, members of J, K and L pods were seen swimming along the west coast of Vancouver Island. J31 was spotted in the group with her new calf. The calf is the second one born to the endangered population this year. Their total numbers are now 76.
Three cheers! We’re happy to report that our researchers had the privilege of encountering Southern Resident killer whales from all three pods along the West Coast of Vancouver Island last week. Members of J-pod, K-pod and L-pod were present, including J31 and her new calf. pic.twitter.com/pA6N2IOPRi
— DFO Pacific (@DFO_Pacific) July 5, 2019
Southern resident orcas are typically seen in the waters off of Vancouver Island and Washington state in the spring and summer, but the population hadn’t been seen in the Salish Sea for two months prior to last week.
Ken Balcomb from the Center for Whale Research in Washington said the population have not been coming to coastal waters due to less Chinook salmon.
You can listen to recordings of Tahlequah (J-35), members of the J16s with L-87 and other J Pod members communicating with one another and echolocating back in 2018 here.