A baby orca spotted on the west side of Vancouver Island has now been named by researchers.
Washinton-based Center for Whale Research (CWR) introduced the calf Saturday, saying “Meet K45.”
K45 is the newest member of K Pod.
On Friday, CWR field biologist Mark Malleson and his colleagues spotted the K Pod group northeast of Race Rocks and confirmed that the mother, K20, was travelling with a new calf.
Researchers were able to capture images of the mother with her new baby travelling in a tight group with other members of the family.
Meet K45! On July 9, we met the newest member of K Pod, K45. CWR received word that SRKWS were inbound from the west side of Vancouver Island, and in the group were members of K Pod whom we had not seen since November 21, 2021. https://t.co/bnt9aqQjRk pic.twitter.com/YhPQEVvgcA
— Whale Research (@CWROrcas) July 10, 2022
CWR reports that this newest addition to the family has a “size and shape … typical of a calf in good physical condition.”
Researchers have not yet confirmed the sex of the newborn.
“We received word that Southern Resident orcas were inbound from the west side of Vancouver Island and in the group were members of K Pod whom we had not seen since November 21, 2021,” a release from CWR reads.
“We had previously received video and photographs of a possible new calf with K Pod earlier this year (April and June). Still, we were excited to have the opportunity to see the baby firsthand.”
The last time K20 gave birth was in 2011 to a male, K44.
K20, who was born in 1986, is part of the K13 matriline and has two siblings. She has a female sibling born in 1994, K27, and a male born in 2002, K34.