J47 (left to right), mother J35 and new baby orca J57 were spotted in the Salish Sea on Saturday, Sept. 5. (Sarah McCullagh photo)

‘I definitely cried’: Mother orca that carried her dead calf for 17 days gives birth again

Baby J57 spotted in B.C. waters on Saturday

An orca that carried her dead calf for 17 days has given birth to a new baby.

J35, the latest addition to the southern resident killer whales, was spotted on Saturday, confirmed by the Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA).

“I definitely cried,” said Sarah McCullagh, professionally trained captain and naturalist for San Juan Safaris of Friday Harbor in a release.

“We first saw J35 and her son J47 off by themselves away from the main group, then as we watched we quickly realized that there was a very small fin tucked in next to them.”

McCullaugh was the first to spot the new baby orca during a greeting ceremony between J and L pods on Saturday.

Researchers from the Center for Whale Research confirm J35 was born to 22-year-old mother J35, Tahlequah, who carried her dead calf through the Salish Sea for nearly three weeks in 2018.

“I was obviously elated, so excited for J35 after the incredible loss she suffered a couple of years ago,” said McCullagh. “But also for the Southern Resident community as a whole.”

Researchers don’t yet know whether the calf is a boy or a girl.

The PWWA reminds vessels to keep their distance from the new calf and the critically endangered south resident killer whales.

In 2019, the Canadian government implemented a mandate for boats in the Salish Sea to maintain a 400-metre distance from orcas in an effort to lessen the effects of disturbance and underwater noise pollution.

In 2020, foraging and extended sanctuary zones were implemented, including an area based fishery closure for critical habitat areas in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and near the Gulf Islands.

– with files from Nina Grossman

READ MORE: Rare white orca spotted near Sooke two weeks after hunting in Alaska


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com

OrcaVictoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP calls snap election, Milobar running for re-election

B.C. Premier John Horgan announced on Monday that he will officially terminate… Continue reading

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

Williams Lake First Nation inks historic cannabis deal with B.C. government

The agreement paves the way for WLFN to sell cannabis to the government, and open stores across B.C.

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Vancouver Island family overwhelmed with 14 Lab puppies

Litter may be one of the biggest ever

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

First full day of B.C.’s election campaign begins amid COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and the Green party’s Sonia Furstenau criticized John Horgan’s decision

Most Read