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

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

NAV CANDA is considering closing its station at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Nav Canada considering closing station at West Kootenay Regional Airport

The organization is conducting a service review at Castlegar’s airport

Signs are posted at the entrance of newly deactivated roads. (Photo Contributed)
Road Rehabilitation & Access Management Workshop cancelled

The event was scrapped as a result of new social distancing expectations

Games will be different for the Ghostriders this season, without hundreds of fans cheering them on in the bleachers. (File Photo)
Fernie Ghostriders kick off first exhibition game of 2020/2021 season

The Riders played their first game together as a new team on Oct. 18

The exterior of Sasko Manor in Sparwood showing the sundeck windows boarded up. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Left in the cold: Sasko Manor residents complain of ongoing renovations leaving their units open to the elements

Residents of Sparwood apartment block say they’re living in the cold due to construction works

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

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

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Most Read