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

Kootenay West Candidates (L to R) Glen Byle (Conservative), Katrine Conroy (NDP), Andrew Duncan (Green), Corbin Kelley (Liberal), Fletcher Quince (Independent, Ed Varney (Independent).
Q&A with Kootenay West candidates: Child care

Sixth in a series of Q&As with the candidates, look for a new set each morning.

A health-care worker prepares to swab a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
Interior Health records 21 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

Thirty-six cases remain active; two people are in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care

Seventy bags of items were dropped off at the school during the two days. Photo: John Boivin
Stanley Humphries graduates raise $3844 from bottle drive

Fifty students came together over two days to collect and sort the items

Teck
Teck incurs no tax penalty

Provincial Economic Stabilization (COVID-19) Act extended commercial tax deadline to Sept. 30

Kootenay West Candidates (L to R) Glen Byle (Conservative), Katrine Conroy (NDP), Andrew Duncan (Green), Corbin Kelley (Liberal), Fletcher Quince (Independent, Ed Varney (Independent).
Q&A with Kootenay West candidates: BC Parks

Fifth in a series of Q&As with the candidates, look for a new set each morning.

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. sees record-breaking daily COVID infections with 499 new cases over weekend

Two people, both in the Lower Mainland, died due to the virus over the weekend

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Most Read