Wednesday, January 06, 2010

New Year's Baby

The morning of January 3 brought news of the largest New Year's baby in this area -- an orca calf  born to J Pod, one of the local resident groups of killer whales. (J Pod is also the name of a great Douglas Coupland novel that has nothing to do with whales. But I digress.)
The mother, J35, also known as Tahlequah, is young for an orca mother, only 12 years old. This makes six killer whales born to the three endangered southern resident pods in the last year, bringing the number of whales  up to 88, assuming all survived the winter. The mortality rate for killer whale calves is about 50%. The number of resident whales has been as low as 71 in the 1970s and as high as 97 in 1996, but is believed to normally have been around 120 historically.

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