Researchers release photos and video of southern resident orca calf

Researchers release photos and video of southern resident orca calf

WATCH: An encounter with L Pod on Jan. 11, 2019. (Center for Whale Research/YouTube). 

Whale researchers say the new baby southern resident killer whale was “bouncing around” between five other members of the L pod during an encounter last Friday.

L124, or “Lucky,” was spotted beside its mother L77 last Thursday in Puget Sound while a KING 5 helicopter was gathering footage of the K and L pods swimming together. 

WATCH: Footage from KING 5 shows a new calf swimming with the Southern Resident killer whales.

On Friday morning, a research team with the Center for Whale Research headed out to Admiralty Inlet, a strait in Washington state connecting the eastern end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Puget Sound.

The Center for Whale Research wrote on their website that they first discovered the K pod swimming at the north end of the inlet before finding the L pod a few hundred yards behind.

“All of L pod was accounted for and L77’s new calf, L124, was confirmed at 0950. The calf appeared to be about 3 weeks old and was bouncing around between L25, L41, L77 L85, and L119. A gender was not revealed during the encounter but there will hopefully be more opportunities in the future,” the center wrote.

Researchers said the new calf kept up well with L25, L41, L77 and L119 as they headed northwest to meet up with J pod. K pod also caught up with J pod to socialize.

“If all of J pod was indeed there, than all 75 of the endangered southern resident orcas were in the same area together,” the center wrote.

There are two other pregnant southern resident killer whales in K pod and J pod. The total number of remaining southern resident killer whales is 75. The population is classified as endangered in Canada.

The population is also in danger of losing two of its orcas. K25, a 27-year-old-male, is failing from a lack of sufficient food and 42-year-old J17, a female, has a so-called peanut head – a misshapen head and neck caused by starvation.

K25 was seen on Jan. 11, 2019. The Center for Whale Research said he remains thin but his condition has not worsened. J17 was spotted a few times but researchers were not able to assess her health.

Here are some more photos of L124: 

L124. (Melisa Pinnow).

L124 with mom L77 and other L12s. (Dave Ellifrit).

L41, L85 and new calf L124. (Dave Ellifrit).

L77 and her new calf L124. (Dave Ellifrit).

New calf L124 and L41. (Dave Ellifrit).

L124, L77, L41, L86 and L25. (Dave Ellifrit).

L119, L77, L124, and L41 (Melisa Pinnow).



Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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