PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

J Pod’s newest calf, born Sept. 24, 2020 surfaces next to mother J41. (Talia Goodyear/Orca Spirit Adventures/Pacific Whale Watch Association)
J Pod’s newest calf, born Sept. 24, 2020 surfaces next to mother J41. (Leaha Vanderwiel/Orca Spirit Adventures/Pacific Whale Watch Association)

Talia Goodyear and Lea Vanderwiel were aboard the Orca Spirit Adventures earlier this week when they suspect a pregnant Southern Resident killer whale was nearby and giving birth to her newborn calf.

“It was an emotional time as we processed what was happening in front of us,” Vanderwiel said in a statement Friday (Sept. 25).

“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.”

Upon receiving photographs from the Pacific Whale Watch Association on Thursday, the Center for Whale Research has since confirmed the calf’s mother is J41.

One of the center’s field staffers, Mark Malleson, was able to see the whales – known as J Pod – near Sheringham Point off of Vancouver Island later on Thursday evening as they foraged for fish, but was unable to spot the calf himself.

In a statement, the research center said they will eagerly await to observe the calf in order to evaluate its health and hopefully determine its sex.

ALSO READ: Aerial photos reveal good and bad news about B.C.’s endangered killer whales

“We will reserve its alpha-numeric designation until it proves to be healthy when the pod returns to Salish Sea waters,” the center said, adding that about 40 per cent of newborn calves do not survive their neonatal first few weeks.

This marks the second calf to be born this month. In recent years, the number of Southern Resident killer whales have dwindled to just less than 80, sparking ample concern from coastal researchers on both sides of the border.

READ MORE: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

Sometimes, it can take biologists and experts quite some time to confirm the sex of a calf, because they have to be able to see the underbelly of the whale.

Just earlier this week, the center was able to confirm another calf, now named J57, was a male. It was born on Sept. 4, is the viable second male calf born to J35, or Tahlequah.

This newest calf – which hasn’t yet been named – is the second calf birthed by J41, following the birth of J51 in 2010. J41 is believed to be roughly 15 years old.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Southern Resident Killer Whales

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sue Moss is the new executive director of the South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce. (Kelly Sinoski photo, 100 Mile Free Press).
New Chamber head hopes to help businesses prosper

Sue Moss takes over role in South Cariboo.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

B.C. General Election is on Saturday, Oct. 24.
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

RCMP (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Police warns public not to fall prey to CRA tax scam

CRA does not have the ability to apply for arrest warrants for unpaid taxes.

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Charges laid against Prince George man, 39, in drug trafficking probe

Tyler Aaron Gelowitz is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 18

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read