FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash. — Another baby orca has been spotted in the waters near the San Juan Islands.
The Pacific Whale Watch Association confirmed the birth of a 6th orca since last December. Prior to that, it had been nearly three years since a successful birth.
The newest baby orca has been designated J53 after it was spotted on Saturday in Haro Strait with a 38-year-old orca known as Princess Angeline.
Conservationists are thrilled. It’s the sixth baby born to Puget Sound’s three orca pods since last December, boosting their numbers to 82.
“This year we’ve had the youngest mother on record give birth, a 10-year-old, and three of the oldest. Now we’ve got a grandma having a baby. Forty is definitely the new 30 among the Southerns,” said Michael Harris, Executive Director of PWWA.
There could be more babies on the way. Federal biologists recently used drones to take thousands of images of the orcas, and they said several appeared to be pregnant.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.