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

Overnight shutdown of Highway 1 at McKenzie interchange for sign installation

Traffic will be impacted in both directions, detour available

Wildfire smoke expected to blanket Greater Victoria again

Conditions expected to worsen Wednesday afternoon but not approach levels reached a few weeks ago

Canadian warship HCMS Regina sails past Sidney

The vessel recently returned from the world’s largest naval exercise

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Former Victoria Royals manager celebrates Stanley Cup win

Grant Armstrong is now an amateur scout with Tampa Bay Lightning

Orange Shirt Society launches first textbook on residential school history

Phyllis Webstad and Joan Sorley worked on the 156-page book to help educate students

Metis pilot Teara Fraser profiled in new DC Comics graphic novel of women heroes

The Canadian pilot’s entry is titled: ‘Teara Fraser: Helping Others Soar’

Growing food sovereignty at Klemtu

Greenhouse and grow boxes help create circular food economy for Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nations

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Horgan vows to replace B.C.’s shared senior care rooms in 10 years

$1.4 billion construction on top of staff raises, single-site work

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

Orange Shirt Day lessons of past in today’s classrooms

Phyllis Webstad, who attended St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in British Columbia, is credited for creating the movement

Most Read