GREAT NEWS: Baby orca born to endangered whales in Puget Sound (PHOTO)

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
This is the new baby orca, J-50, sighted with mom north of San Juan Island on Tuesday, Dec. 30. (Photo: Center for Whale Research)

This is the new baby orca, J-50, sighted with mom north of San Juan Island on Tuesday, Dec. 30. (Photo: Center for Whale Research)

FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash. — A new baby orca was spotted Tuesday with mom in Canadian waters north of San Juan Island, raising the number of endangered killer whales in the Puget Sound region to 78, the Center for Whale Research said.

The center’s Ken Balcomb “confirmed seeing and photographing 42-year-old J16 (Slick) with her newborn baby — now known as J50,” the center said in a news release.

“During an encounter off the south shores of North Pender Island in Canadian waters,” the center said, “Ken discovered J16 with her newborn calf, only a day or two old, snuggled in her slipstream and looking healthy and energetic.

“No other female has given birth at over 42 years of age in the four decades of demographic field studies of the Southern Resident orcas. J16 was not expected to be carrying a calf due to her advanced age.

“Researchers probably won’t know the calf’s gender for many months, until they are able to see and photograph the calf’s ventral markings,” the center said.

The Southern Resident community was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 2005, after dropping in population to only 78 members, but had recently lost a pregnant female, J32 Rhapsody, bring their numbers down to only 77 members.

This birth brings the community back up to 78.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


  • Deborah Martyn

    Such glad news! Hold her/him in your creative heart thoughts and DO something physical for the ecology of our environs to back it up, Make it one of your New Year’s resolutions to live more in harmony ; recycle, walk in nature, contribute to an organization that supports their recovery. What we do for our best health and for someone else’s best health will create the world we all long for. May this new life thrive in the embrace of an awakening world . Thanks for the great news of J50! Happy New Year All!! As a naturalist onboard Orcas Eclipse Charters, I will see her/him swimming with family next summer and be educating people about their amazing life and how we can support them and all life to flourish.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.