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Another southern resident orca in J-pod believed to be pregnant

J41 gave birth to a baby in September 2020, marking the second baby born to the J pod in a month. (Center for Whale Research)

Whale watchers are certain another southern resident orca is about to give birth.

This new pregnancy follows the recent birth of two calves to J-pod last month. On Sept. 4, J35 — also known as Tahlequah — gave birth to J57. The world mourned in 2018 along with J35, who spent 17 days carrying her deceased baby over 1,000 miles.

The second calf born in September for the pod that makes its home in Puget Sound waters was the second born to J41, also known as Eclipse. Her first calf, J51, was born in 2015.

Photos of the newest baby orca born to J-pod

Howard Garrett with the Orca Network is guessing this third baby will be born sometime in the next month or so based on looking at the mom to-be.

“You can just sort of tell by looking that it won’t be long,” he said. “She’s very big.”

If the baby survives, there will be 75 resident orca whales. There were nearly 100 of them 25 years ago.

For now, Garrett says the mother appears to be very healthy. Even heavily pregnant, she’s making full jumps out of the water.

“That shows she has a lot of energy and that is so good to see,” Garrett said.

If all goes well, this will be the expectant orca’s first baby.

With Puget Sound orcas pregnant, vessels asked to give them space

Garrett say the baby could be born any time and on delivery day will be about 8 feet long and 400 pounds.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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