New Orca Joins Endangered Whale Population

A baby whale is photographed in the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. Scientists say a new calf has joined an endangered killer whale population off British Columbia's coast. The Washington state-based Center for Whale Research says the baby dubbed J53 was spotted early Saturday in Haro Strait.

According to local Orca experts, a new baby has joined our local whale population off the San Juan Island in the Salish Sea.

San Juan Island based Center for Whale Research released a statement that a baby dubbed J53 was seen early Saturday in Haro Strait off the west side of the island.

Researchers from the center managed to photograph the sea squirt as it played with a 38-year-old female called J17, the likely mother.

The Center says the same whale was last spotted Oct. 15 calf-free, so it’s more than likely the baby was about 10 days old when first spotted on Sunday.

Center Director Ken Balcomb mentions J17 already has three other offspring.

Two of the calves – J28, born in 1993, and J35, who came along in 1998 are females and J44, a son, was born in 2009.

Dir. Balcomb said as of now, there are 82 resident southern orca whales and scientists would like to see the number rise to 120.