And the orca babies keep coming!
The Center for Whale Research said Saturday that another Puget Sound calf born in the endangered Southern Resident Community was discovered. This marks the sixth calf born since December, and conservationists are thrilled. This raises their number to 82!
The baby Orca, marked J53 by the Center, was discovered Saturday in Haro Strait swimming along with J17, also known as Princess Angeline. This is the 38-year-old member’s fourth calf, and she is a grandmother to two other whales.
“The wide range of ages of the mothers has really been fascinating to us,” said Executive Director of Pacific Whale Watch Association Michael Harris. “This year we’ve had the youngest mother on record give birth, a 10-year-old, and three of the oldest. Now we’ve got a grandma having a baby. Forty is definitely the new 30 among the Southerns.”
Harris said that the whale watching community is referring to the Southern Resident ocra babies as the “Class of 2015,” Associated Press reports. And there could be more babies on the way.
Federal biologists recently used drones to take thousands of pictures of the whales. They found that several of them looked pregnant!
So why is this important? Well, the population is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and in Canada under the Species at Risk Act. This gives conservationists hope that the species has turned around.