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Baby orca born near Tofino big boost for killer whale population

By Marcus Hondro     Jun 14, 2015 in Environment
The endangered orca killer whale population appears to have had its fourth B.C. birth this year. This birth, however, is to a transient pod of orcas and not one of three southern resident pods that are fixtures in B.C. and Washington state waters.
John Forde is a member of the Tofino Whale Society and the Strawberry Isle Marine Research Centre and he spotted the newborn calf swimming with mom in ocean waters near Tofino last week. As a whale-watching guide, Forde frequently sees what he described to CTV News as a transient grouping of killer whales in the area.
It was on Wednesday morning that Forde said he spotted a new addition to the group, a newborn calf he believes was probably only days or a week old. The calf appeared both healthy and playful, Forde said; he was not able to tell the gender of the calf.
Transient whales often arrive in the area from ocean waters off of California, Oregon or Alaska and remain in areas off the Pacific Coast. The three southern resident pods stay in Washington state and B.C. waters exclusively. Those three pods had a population decline and are considered endangered.
However, since January three orca calves have been born to the southern resident population. The "L" pod had a birth in March while the "J" pod had a birth in late December and another in February.
Orca whales survive on a diet of Chinook salmon, with Chum and some Coho and other fish included. In recent years some members are believed to have staved to death due to a shortage of fish.
With the births to the regular pods, and now a fourth to a transient pod, the future for killer whales in the area looks promising. The three southern resident pods total about 80 whales.
More about orca whales, southern resident whale pods, killer whale born, newborn orca
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