K Pod, courtesy NOAA
Southern Resident Killer Whales, courtesy NOAA
K pod is the smallest of the three Southern Resident Killer Whales pods with only 18 members. The oldest female is K12 Sequim, who is thought to be 48 years old and have three living offspring and is a grandmother to K33, Tika. K pod has three mature males, K21 (32 years old), K25 (27 years old), and K26 (25 years old). K44 Ripple is the youngest member of K pod, born in 2011 and is also the first known calf of K27.
K pod is made up of four matrilines (a societal system where all the whales are descended from their mother’s line, not their father’s) whose oldest members (K4, K7, K8, and K18) are all deceased.
There are several whales in K pod that are easy to identify because of their dorsal fins. Spock (K20) has a tall and straight dorsal fin and was thought to be a male until 2004 when she gave birth to a calf. Raggedy (K40) received her name from the many nicks on the edge of her dorsal fin.
K pod reached its lowest numbers shortly after the mass captures of the 60s and early 70s when only 16 individuals remained. Despite decades having passed, the pod has only increased in size by three whales since that time.
Current K pod members: K12 Sequim, K14 Lea, K16 Opus, K20 Spock, K21 Cappuccino, K22 Sekiu, K25 Scoter, K26 Lobo, K27 Deadhead, K33 Tika K34 Cali, K35 Sonata, K36 Yoda, K37 Rainshadow, K38 Comet, K42 Kelp, K43 Saturna, K44 Ripples.