A newborn killer whale calf has been confirmed in J Pod, one of our three resident orca pods that reside in the Salish Sea, which includes Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands of Washington state. This birth brings the population of J Pod to 27 and the total for all three pods to 87.
The new baby has been designated J-46, using the standard sequence used by biologists who track their population and biology. The calf has been seen with its mother J-28, a 16-year-old orca named Polaris.
Both mother and calf appear to be healthy. Firstborn calves have alarmingly high mortality rates due to toxic pollutants being passed from the mother to the calf via milk production. We wish this calf the best of luck and look forward to observing this calf’s development during our San Juan Islands kayak tours this year.