KOMO NEWS: Puget Sound orca pod welcomes newborn calf

Published: Sep 7, 2014 at 1:05 PM PDT

Screen shot 2014-09-07 at 6.51.31 PMSAN JUAN ISLANDS, Wash. – A new baby orca calf has been born in the Salish Sea, the Center for Whale Research said Saturday.

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.”

About orcaconservancy

Orca Conservancy is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working on behalf of orcinus orca, the killer whale, and protecting the wild places on which it depends. Successful Petitioner and Litigant in historic U.S. District Court case to list Southern Resident orcas as "Endangered" under the U.S. Endangered Species Act -- the first-ever federal protection for the population. Leader in the Springer Project, the first-ever successful translocation and reintroduction of a wild killer whale, a rescue that captured the attention of the world.
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