SEATTLE — A new orca calf has been spotted in Puget Sound, bringing the number of endangered resident orcas to 89.
“Slick,” is a 39-year-old member of the J-pod. This week she showed up near the Kingston-Edmonds ferry route in Puget Sound with a new calf. This is her fifth.
Researchers say the whales in her pod appeared to be swimming in circles earlier in the day, before the calf was sighted.
Susan Berta of Orca Network says this time of year, if you’re a whale, the sheltered water of Puget Sound’s a pretty good place to have a baby.
Susan Berta: “Maybe the water’s a little less rough for the baby’s first few breaths in learning to surface and breathe.”
The resident orca population sank to just 71 whales in the 1970s after many were captured and sent to marine parks.
They are on the Endangered Species List and for the past several years the population was holding steady at around 87 whales.
Earlier this year Ruffles, the oldest male in the group died.
Berta says researchers don’t know if it’s a baby boy or girl but either way, there’s cause for celebration.
Susan Berta: Every birth is something to celebrate and it’s nice that it’s happening just in time for the holidays so we hope they come back in so we can all see them and wave to the new calf.
To report orca sightings call 1 866 ORCANET.
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