News

Here’s where you’ll find news about orcas, marine mammals and the marine environment, from around the Pacific Northwest, and the world.

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Another new calf in J-pod – welcome J-55!

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New calf J-55. Photo by NOAA Fisheries.

NOAA Fisheries announced another new calf in J-pod! J-55 was observed during a research survey. Mother is unclear since the calf was swimming near both J14 and J37. Here’s the announcement from NOAA’s Facebook page:

We’re excited to announce that NOAA Fisheries killer whale researchers documented a new calf during a research survey with J pod yesterday, January 18, 2016, in Puget Sound. Using photos taken by the researchers, the Center for Whale Research confirmed this is a new calf, designated J55. The calf was in close proximity to both J14 and J37, so we don’t know who the mother is just yet, and it may take a few encounters before weknow. The calf seems to be just a few days old and in good condition. 

This good news comes with some sad news, however. On the same trip we observed J31, a 20 year-old female who has never successfully calved, pushing around a deceased neonate calf. It is estimated that at least 50% of calves do not reach their first birthday, so unfortunately this sad event is not unusual. We’re sharing a picture of new calf J55 with this post.

Watch Brad Hanson’s Orca Talk

A few weeks ago we hosted a presentation by AFSC killer whale researcher Brad Hanson, focused on the new calves in the Southern Resident Killer Whale population, and overall health of the pods. The talk was held at C&P Coffee in West Seattle, and sold out within 3 days. Thanks to NOAA Fisheries, now you can watch it too!

Orca Talk with Brad Hanson – SRKW 2015 Winter Update from Donna Sandstrom on Vimeo.

Our next talk will be “Ecology of Transient Orcas in the Salish Sea,” presented by Josh McInness, founder of the Transient Killer Whale Research Project. It will be Thursday, January 7th, 7 to 9 at C&P, tickets $5. Tickets will go on sale soon.

New Calf in L-pod!

The Center for Whale Research reports a new calf in L-pod! The new calf, designated L-123, is believed to be the first offspring of 12-year-old L-103. L-123 is the seventh new calf born to the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) over the past year, increasing the total population to 84 whales. The calf was first observed near Alki Point in West Seattle, and confirmed December 4 by the Center.

Read more at CBC:
Orca baby boom: 7th calf born to endangered southern resident population

Orca Talk 12/3 with Brad Hanson

J53 in Puget Sound. Photo by Mark Sears, Research Permit 16163-01

J53 by Mark Sears, Research Permit 16163-01

SOLD OUT! Our upcoming talk with Brad Hanson sold out in 3 days – a new record for our Orca Talk series. We’re working on ways to attend virtually. Thanks everyone for your support, and interest in the orcas!

 Over the past year, six new calves have been born to the Southern Resident Killer Whales (J, K and L pods). What does that mean for this endangered population  – how healthy are they overall? What have we learned over the past year, and what are the most pressing questions still to be addressed?  Join us to hear the latest findings and future research directions, presented by Dr. Brad Hanson, NWFSC lead killer whale researcher.
 
When: Thursday December 3, 7:30 – 9 pm.
–Doors open at 6:30
Where: C&P Coffee Company, 5612 California Ave SW
Cost: $5 suggested donation; kids free
Advance tickets: brownpapertickets.com
 
 This is the second in the 2015/2016 Orca Talk series hosted by The Whale Trail in West Seattle. The event also features updates from Robin Lindsay (Seal Sitters), and Diver Laura James (tox-ick.org). Come early and share some holiday cheer!
 
Buy tickets now to reserve your seat. And hurry – this will likely sell out.
UPDATE

About the Speaker
 
Brad Hanson joined the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in April of 2003. Previously, Brad worked as a Wildlife Biologist at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle, WA. Brad received a Ph.D. from the University of Washington where he worked on the development of improved tag attachment systems for small cetaceans. He also holds an M.S. in Fisheries from the University of Washington and a B.A. in Zoology also from the University of Washington.  Brad is an ecologist and is currently studying foraging and habitat use of Southern Resident killer whales and health assessment of harbor and Dall’s porpoises.
The Whale Trail is a nonprofit organization in partnership with
Partners NOAA Seattle Aquarium People for Puget Sound Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife The Whale Museum National Marine Sanctuaries