There is some encouraging news for orcas in the Salish Seas.
After no newborn calves having survived for almost three years, they seem to be having a “baby boom” this year with four successful calves being born since December 30, 2014.
This specific pod of whales has been named “The Southern Resident Orcas” and are listed as endangered on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and in Canada under the Species At Risk Act (SARA).
With the addition of the four new calves the numbers have boosted to 81, and with it have boosted the Pacific Whale Watchers Associations (PWWA) hopes that their population has turned a positive corner.
The four new orca calves have been named J50, J51, J52 and L121. But one specific calf has been stealing the limelight and entertaining watchers with her antics. J50 has been seen almost every day and is full of life despite her rocky start in life.
The young orca has many teeth marks along her back and on her dorsal fin, leading researchers to believe she may have had a couple of midwife orcas to help with her birth by helping pull her out of her mother.
She never let it slow her down. On July 4 she gave whale watchers on tour in Victoria, British Columbia an amazing show with more than sixty breaches.
“I’ve never seen a baby whale breach like J50’s been doing,” said Michael Harris, executive director of PWWA, which represents 33 operators in Washington and British Columbia.
“J50 stole the show, and hearts, with more than 60 breaches as she and her family moved south in Haro Strait,” said Clint Rivers, a naturalist and photographer.
It’s like she just figured out how this breaching thing works and couldn’t stop. She was still breaching well into the evening.
All photos via Global News