New baby orca welcomed by southern resident killer whale community

Feb 18 2021, 6:46 pm

A new baby orca has been born into the Southern Resident killer whale (SRKW) community, according to the Washington State-based Center for Whale Research (CWR).

According to the CWR, the calf, named L125, is in “good physical condition” and is the fourth calf to be born to her mother, L86.

Dave Ellifrit, a photo-ID expert with CWR, captured images of L125 with fetal folds, which he said indicates a relatively recent birth.

“It is nicely filled out and appears to be a perfectly normal little calf,” he said.

According to CWR, L125’s size and shape are typical of a calf in good physical condition. Given its size, it is estimated to be 1 to 1.5 months old.

New calf, L125, with mom, L86 (Photo by Drs John Durban and Holly Fearnbach, SR3)

L125 is the first calf born into L pod since January 2019, when L77 gave birth to L124.

L125 has one living sibling, L106 (male), born in 2005, the CWR said. L86 has given birth to two other calves: L112 and L120, both now deceased. L112 (born in 2009) “was killed by blunt force trauma during a military exercise in 2012.” L120 was born and died in 2014.

The CWR noted that the last time it encountered Southern Resident orcas in the Salish Sea was January 20, 2021 (J and K pod). CWR’s most recent previous encounter with L pod was September 24, 2020.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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