Photo by Traci Walter Photography
After spending two weeks away, J pod returned to the interior waters of the Salish Sea to show off a new baby last Thursday.
According to a Press Release from Center for Whale Research:
Dave Ellifrit from the Center for Whale Research, and Jeanne Hyde who first heard the whales on Lime Kiln hydrophone this morning, embarked on theCenter ‘s research vessel “Chimo” to Haro Strait while CWR Senior Scientist, KenBalcomb, watched from shore and managed communications.
The late December calf, J50, with its J16 family were seen today as well; but, the big news is that J19 and J41 were swimming protectively on either side on another new baby that we estimate is about one week old. This newest addition to Jpod is designated J51, and the presumed mother is thirty-six year old J19. Her ten-year old daughter, J41, was also in attendance. The newest baby appears healthy.
This brings us to twenty-six whales in J pod, the most viable pod in the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population of the US and Canada Pacific Northwest. K pod has 19 individuals, and L pod has34 individuals for a totalpopulation of 79 SRKW’s as of today. That number can change anytime with the birth or death of one of these charismatic whales.
J19, Shachi's first calf was born in 1993 and only survived a few weeks. According to The Whale Museum, she spent much of her time babysitting young calves until July 1, 2005 when she had J41, Eclipse.
Researchers have followed J pod closely since December 29, 2015 when a satellite tag was deployed on J27 Blackberry. You can continue to follow their movements through NFSC's blog. These next few weeks are critical for the calf's survival.
Here is some video of both J50 and J51 courtesy of Traci Walter
Ocean Advocate News will continue to post updates as available.