Newborn Bigg’s killer whale calf spotted off Vancouver Island coast

Newborn Bigg's killer whale calf spotted off Vancouver Island coast
Val Shore/Eagle Wing Tours
A new calf born to a group of Bigg's killer whales is seen near San Juan Island on a heavily rainy day Friday, Nov. 12, 2021.

A new killer whale calf was spotted in the waters off Vancouver Island’s south coast.

The calf was born to the Bigg’s, or transient, killer whale population, according to Eagle Wing Tours, which spotted the baby orca Nov. 12 at Cattle Pass, near the south end of San Juan Island.

“There are two breeding age females in the T36A family so time will tell who the mother is, but on this day it was seen most often by the side of matriarch T36A,” Eagle Wing said. “If the calf is hers, it will be her 5th known baby!”

RELATED: Report sheds light on mysterious group of ‘outer coast’ killer whales

Orca Network, an organization that tracks orca sightings in the Pacific Northwest, also reported the new calf earlier this month after it was spotted near Lopez Island in Washington State.

Interestingly, the pod of whales were spotted near a group of sea lions — one of their main sources of prey — peacefully co-existing, said photographer Val Shore.

Transient orcas aren’t endangered like their cousins, the southern resident killer whales that frequent B.C. waters, but are considered to be at risk due to small population size and a low reproductive rate, though births have been increasing in recent years.

They can occasionally be seen hunting for seals, sea lions and porpoises close to shore and can be spotted frequenting B.C. waters year-round.


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