Just shy of International Women’s Day, a baby born to the southern resident orca population is confirmed to be female.
The Washington-based Center for Whale Research announced March 7 that J41’s six-month-old calf, J58, is female. The news comes after the calf was photographed from shore by Jeanne Hyde on March 6. The calf was rolling and revealing her gender by displaying her underside.
The centre says females are critical to the sustainability of the southern resident orca population.
J58 was born on Sept. 24, the second calf born to J Pod that month after J57 was born Sept. 4. The Pacific Whale Watch Association sent the centre photos of the new baby that month, after witnessing what they believed to be J58’s birth.
“It was an emotional time as we processed what was happening in front of us,” said naturalist Lea Vanderwiel, on board at the time. “It took a few minutes to realize what was actually happening, but then it was pure excitement realizing that it was a birth and the baby was very alive and boisterous.”
The news comes after a healthy calf, L125, was discovered in February. L125 is the first calf born to L Pod in more than two years.
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