LOCAL NEWS

New orca calf inspires hope that Puget Sound whales could be recovering

Feb 17, 2021, 4:44 PM
New orca calf, orcas, Southern Residents...
Orca calf L125 swimming with its mother, Surprise. (Center for Whale Research)
(Center for Whale Research)

Puget Sound orca L-86 is named Surprise, and she certainly brought a surprise to the coast of San Juan Island on Wednesday when she appeared with a brand new calf.

With Puget Sound orcas pregnant, vessels asked to give space

Although Surprise had lost three of her four children previously, local experts are encouraged by the fact that she was able to carry this baby — dubbed L125 — to term. Scientists believe L125 is healthy at roughly one to one-and-a-half months old, with the Center for Whale Research’s Dave Ellifrit saying that it “appears to be a perfectly normal little calf.”

The L-pod has been spending more of its time on the outer coast of Vancouver Island, which experts hope means they’ve been finding more to eat out there. Kelley Balcomb-Bartok of the Pacific Whale Watch Association says whether or not this baby survives will be very indicative of how true that theory might be.

“If this one survives, I would say that it does indicate that they’re finding food elsewhere, and if it doesn’t survive then this continues to show the challenges that they’re still facing,” he told KIRO Radio, noting that the appearance of this new calf is inspiring “cautious optimism at the moment.”

Washington ferries use new app to help struggling orca population

L125 represents the 75th Southern Resident Orca, whose population has severely dwindled in recent years. That’s been blamed by experts on a reduction in their primary food source, Chinook salmon, as well as a variety of other environmental factors.

Last summer, two babies were born to J-pod. Those calves are doing well, as is the rest of J-pod.

Balcomb-Bartok says we can all do our part to help the orcas by voting for people who work toward salmon recovery efforts, such as dam removal.

MyNorthwest staff contributed to this report

Local News

airport...
Frank Sumrall

State Rep: ‘None of these locations are suitable’ for a future airport

According to Jason Rantz, the acting chairman of CACC, Warren Hendrickson, stated he believes none of the airport locations will move forward.
1 day ago
(KIRO 7)...
Shawn Garrett, KIRO 7 News

Deputies seize nearly 100 pounds of drugs during Tacoma arrest

Deputies with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department seized nearly 100 pounds of drugs while arresting a man with a felony warrant in Tacoma
1 day ago
police pursuit...
Matt Markovich

Source of pursuit deaths updates controversial data

Stats used by legislators to consider changing police pursuit laws may be in question.
1 day ago
recycle...
Nicole Jennings

‘Recycle, don’t throw out’ newest message from King County initiative

King County has launched a new initiative to get people to recycle or reuse items before automatically throwing them out.
1 day ago
belltown...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Pedestrian hit by train in Belltown, police investigate

Seattle Police are investigating after a man was hit by a train near Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood Thursday night.
1 day ago
Frasier...
Bill Kaczaraba

Lovable radio host Frasier returns, but not to Seattle

Frasier, the lovable but loveless radio host who put Seattle on the map will not be returning to the Emerald City.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
New orca calf inspires hope that Puget Sound whales could be recovering