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Newborn orca found dead in Ocean Shores

OCEAN SHORES, Wash. — A newborn orca was found dead late Saturday in Ocean Shores.

The young calf was reported on the shore Wednesday just north of Willapa Bay Wednesday, said Jessie Huggins, the stranding coordinator with the Cascadia Research Institute. The orca disappeared before officials could confirm it, and was then found again washed up at Ocean Shores.

The animal was a newborn, and the cause of death was likely birth-trauma related, Huggins said.

WARNING: Photos below contain graphic images 

Scientists said they were not sure if the orca was a member of the transient population or an endangered Southern Resident orca. Skin samples were taken from the orca, Huggins said, but they aren’t expected to come back for a couple weeks.

Huggins said orca calves wash up about every few years.

The total number of Southern Resident orcas – now 75 – is the lowest it’s been in three decades.