SEATTLE — Puget Sound orca pods with six babies are expected to venture south into Puget Sound for the fall and early winter.
Whidbey Island-based Orca Network officials said Monday the killer whales are likely to start appearing from Admiralty Inlet to south of Vashon Island after spending most of the summer in the San Juan Islands and Georgia Strait.
Officials say they typically travel that route chasing chum salmon runs.
The Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbor confirmed that a sixth newborn orca designated as J53 was spotted Saturday in Haro Strait.
It’s the sixth baby born to Puget Sound’s three orca pods since December, boosting their numbers to 82.
Southern resident orcas have been listed as endangered since 2005 and have struggled due to pollution and lack of food.
Sherry Tarantino, the president of the board of Orcas Conservancy, said it’s exciting the orcas are in the area, but greatly encouraged people to give the endangered animals their space.