Published: Sep 7, 2014 at 1:05 PM PDT
It’s the first birth for the endangered Southern Resident Community of orcas, L pod, of the Salish Sea since 2012, the Center said.
“This is great news. But every time a baby’s born, we’re careful not to pass out the cigars too soon,” Michael Harris, Executive Director of the Pacific Whale Watch Association said in a press release. “Infant mortality is really high among wild orcas, especially these Southern Residents.”
The newborn orca has been designated L120, and is the second birth for 23-year-old orca mom L86.
The numbers for the Southern Resident population have dropped to 78, the lowest count in a decade, the Center said. Researchers attribute their slow recovery to lack of prey, considering their preferred diet of wild Chinook salmon.
“This little whale has a tough road ahead,” Harris said. “Every birth is exciting, but we’ll be especially thrilled and relieved to see L120 rolling back into the Sound and Straits next summer.”