How are the little ones doing?
Updated August 7, 2012

popchart2012
Southern Resident Orca Community 1976 - 2012

A quick look at this population chart, compiled from data supplied by the Center for Whale Research, shows the precarious survival of the Southern resident orcas. Their survival rate reflects overall Chinook salmon abundance with a lag time of a year or two as births and deaths respond to conditions. Ocean conditions have generally favored salmon since 2000, and while the population may have stabilized in the past few years, seven members were lost, including two reproductive females, from the Southern Resident orca community in 2008, five newborn offspring were seen in 2009, five were born but seven were lost, including J1, in 2010, and three were born and none lost in 2011.

The Puget Sound food web remains permeated with toxics like PCBs, PBDE's PAHs, dioxins and heavy metals like mercury. Watershed, shoreline and wetland habitats are still being destroyed faster than they are being restored. Whenever ocean conditions cycle into less productive phases the resulting effects on the orcas' food supplies could be devastating.

There is no dispersal from, or immigration into, the Southern resident community, so every newborn orca is especially precious while the population regrows. Well-wishers are watching them closely in hopes they will make it through their perilous early months and years. Below are some of the young ones we are watching with hope that they may grow strong and live long.

List of births and deaths since 2001


J49

J49
Photo by Capt. James Maya.
J49 was photographed on August 6, 2012 between mom J37 (left) and grandma J14 (right).



L119

L119
Photo by Center for Whale Research.
L119 was photographed on May 30, 2012 with male L41 (born 1977). L119's mother is L77.


L118

L118
Photo by Mark Malleson.
L118 was photographed June 17, 2011 by Mark Malleson with its mother L55. Ken Balcomb had barely photographed the calf in February in Monterey Bay, California.


K44

K44
Photo by Jane Cogan.
K44 was photographed July 6, 2011 by CWR
with mom K27 off San Juan Island.


L117

L117
Photo by Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research.
L117 was photographed December 6, 2010 by CWR
with L5 (the mother is not yet determined) off San Juan Island.


L116

L116
Photo by Erin Heydenreich, Center for Whale Research.
L116 was
photographed October 13, 2010 by CWR with mom L82 off San Juan Island.


L115

L115
Photo by Center for Whale Research.
L115 was photographed August 13, 2010 by CWR with mom L47.


K43

K43_20100608EAF_DG4-021
Photo by Emma Foster, Center for Whale Research.
June 8, 2010 - K43 was first photographed February 21, 2010 by Jeanne Hyde and was photographed with mom K12 on June 8, 2010 in Haro Strait.


L114

L114%20and%20L77_20100221DKE_DG1-227scaled
Photo by David Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research.
L114 was first seen and photographed February 21, 2010 with L77 near Cordova Bay, Vancouver Island BC. L114 has not been seen with its mother in June, 2010 and is presumed to have died.


J47

J47JHogan(4of4)scale
Photo by Jeff Hogan - NOAA permit #781182400.
J47 was first seen and photographed January 3, 2010 with J35 near Vashon Island, Puget Sound. Note the fetal folds on the calf's head.


J46

IMG_6673J28&J46crop
Photo by Mark Malleson.
J46 was first seen and photographed November 11, 2009 with J28 around noon from Lime Kiln Lighthouse, then again just before dark heading west off Victoria.


L113

L113_2scaled
Photo by Jami Nagel.
Jami Nagel of Island Adventures encountered newborn L113 near Pt. Wilson October 10, 2009, Admiralty Inlet, with 14-year old female L94 and 32-year old male L41.


J45

20090303KCB_DG1-165J45
Photo by Kenneth Balcomb.
Center for Whale Research found J45 with mom J14 (Samish) March 3, 2009 in Haro Strait, accompanied by J14's son J30 (Riptide, not seen in 2012, now believed deceased) and J1 (Ruffles).


J44

20090208OTH_DG7_001J44.JPG
2009 photo by Center for Whale Research.
Center for Whale Research encountered a calf February 6, 2009 in the presence of J pod females. J44 was confirmed to be a male May 4, 2009. His mom is J17 (Princess Angeline) and he is her third.


L112

20090206KCB_DG1-_0861L112
2009 photo by Kenneth Balcomb.
L112 was first documented by Morris Grover on January 21, 2009 off Depoe Bay, Oregon, and later photographed by Ken Balcomb February 6th off the Victoria, British Columbia waterfront travelling with eighteen year old mom L86. L112 is the younger sibling of L106, a boy calf born to L86 in 2005.


L111

L111_20080812DKE_DG1-038
Photo by David Ellifrit.
L111 was reported missing and presumed dead in August, 2008
Center for Whale Research encountered a calf August 12, 2008, swimming in close proximity to 5-time mother (three have died) and grandmother L47. Based on L111's size and the apparent fetal folds, Center for Whale Research staff believe the calf to have been only a few hours old.


K42

20090627BRG_DG7-2817K42
2009 photo courtesy of the Center for Whale Research.
June 3, 2008,
Center for Whale Research encountered a small calf swimming in close proximity to K14 and her sister K16, both reproductive age females. Later in the encounter staff determined that the calf was indeed a new calf in K-pod, and observed the calf primarily travelling very near K14 and her older offspring K26 and K36. In mid-October K42 was determined to be a male.


J43 (with mom J14 and 12-year-old brother J30, not seen in 2012 and believed deceased)

jhermanJsNov2407&110
Photo by John Herman.
April 1, 2008, the Center for Whale Research confirmed all members of J pod present, except the new calf, J43, born to J14 last autumn and is presumed dead.
J14 (born 1974) and new baby J43, nestled between mom and J30 (deceased as of 2012), J14's 12 year-old son on November 24. First seen November 6, 2007, near Lagoon Pt., Whidbey Island, less than 24 hours post birth. J43 is J14's fifth known offspring.


L110 (with mom L83)

20090621BVA_DG2-242L110
2009 photo courtesy of the Center for Whale Research.
L110 was rumored in mid-August, 2007 and was photo-documented on August 19 alongside L83. On September 26 L110 was confirmed to be a male. More at Center for Whale Research.


J42 (with mom J16)

20090621BVA_DG2-189J42
2009 photo courtesy of the Center for Whale Research
J42 was rumored around May 1, 2007 and was photo-documented on May 2 alongside J16, off the west side of San Juan Island, with the rest of J pod. J16 was without a calf on April 28, so J42 was not more than four days old on May 2. More at Center for Whale Research.


L109 (with mom L55/Nugget)

20090628KCB_DG1-0018L109.JPG
2009 photo by Kenneth Balcomb, Center for Whale Researach.
L109 was found alongside both L55, born in 1977, and her daughter L82, born in 1990, on March 24 and 25, 2007 near Monterey, California. Researchers have since determined that L55 is the mother.


K41 (with mom K22/Sekiu)

K41_20060820_0176
Photo by Kelley Balcomb-Bartok, Center for Whale Research.
K41 was not found alongside its mother in December, 2006 and is presumed to have died.
K41 was first photographed Sunday Aug. 13, 2006 traveling closely with it's mother K22 and was documented again on Aug. 20, apparently doing quite well, swimming alongside it's mother and older brother K33. The new calf's behavior is a bit unusual in that it does not regularly synchronously surface with the other whales, and sometimes travels far ahead of them.


K39 (with mom K28/Raven)

k28&k39byastrid
Photo by Astrid Van Ginneken, Center for Whale Research.
K28 was last seen September 19, 2006 and is presumed to have died. October 21: K39 is missing and presumed to have died.
K39 was first seen on June 14, 2006 alongside mom K28. K39 is the first calf born to K28, who was born in 1994. K28 is the daughter of K12 (born approx. 1972) and granddaughter of K4 (born approx. 1933, died in 1999). K28 has two living siblings, K37, born in 2004, gender unknown, and K22, a female born in 1987. Another sibling, K31, a male born in 1999, has been missing and presumed dead since fall of 2005.


L108 (with mom L54/Ino)

20090206KCB_DG1_0777L108.JPG
2009 photo by Kenneth Balcomb, Center for Whale Researach
L108, L54's new calf, was seen on April 5th, 2006 by Cascadia Research Collective about 5 miles northwest of the Grays Harbor entrance, and was seen again by Canada's DFO during a research cruise on May 8, 2006 alongside mom L54. L108 is the second calf born to L54, who was born in 1977. L54's first calf, L100, is a young male born in 2001. L54's mother L35 died in 1996, and she has no living siblings. On August 26, 2008, L108, who's sex was previously unknown, was confirmed a male.


J41 (with mom J19/Shachi)

20090625KCB_DG1-420J41
2009 photo by Kenneth Balcomb,
Center for Whale Research.
J41 was first seen on July 2, 2005 alongside mom J19 (Shachi). Twenty-six year old J19 is known to have only given birth to one previous calf, J29, who died in its first year. J19's mother, J4, died in 1995. J19's younger sister, J11, has given birth to four known calves, but one of them, J25, died in its first year in 1988.


L107 (with mom L47/Marina)

L107
Photo by
Center for Whale Research.
L107 was also first seen on June 7, 2005 alongside mom L47 (Marina), but has not been seen since early summer and is presumed dead. L47's previous calf L102, born in early November, 2002, survived only about one month. L47's earlier calf, L99, born in 2000, also died in 2001. Her two older calves, L83 (female, born in 1990) and L91 (unknown gender, born in 1995) are apparently healthy.


L106 (with mom L86/Surprise)

L106
2009 photo by
Center for Whale Research.
L106 was first seen on June 7, 2005 alongside mom L86 (Surprise), born in 1991.


K38 (with mom K20/Spock)

20090629BVA_DG1_022K38
2009 photo courtesy of
The Center for Whale Research
Here K38, a male, was first seen on December 22, 2004, tucked in between Mom, K20, and Grandma, K13. K20, born in 1986, was believed for many years to be a male because of her large dorsal fin. This is her first calf, which made a five-generation unboken line, from K7, born around 1910 (died in 2007), to K11, born about 1933, to K13, probably born in 1972, to K20, born in 1986, to K38.


J40 (mom is J14/Samish)

j40
2009 photo by Center for Whale Research.
First seen on December 21, 2004. The mother is J14, a 30-year-old female who is granddaughter of J2/Granny, believed to be in her 90's. This is her fourth known calf.


L105 (with mom L27/Ophelia)

20090206KCB_DG1_0868L105
2009 photo by Kenneth Balcomb, courtesy of
The Center for Whale Research
First seen on October 17, 2004. L27, born approx. 1965, has had four other known offspring, beginning in 1980, but none has lived past the age of twenty.


L104 (with mom L43/Jelly Roll)

L104
Photo taken October 20 by Adam U, courtesy of
The Center for Whale Research
L104 was not found in 2007 and is believed to have died during the past winter.
First seen on October 8, 2004 by Ron Bates. L43, born approx. 1972, also has a daughter born in 1986 and a son born in 1996.


K37 (with mom K12/Sequim)

k37
2009 photo courtesy of
The Center for Whale Research
First seen in late December, 2003, K37 is K12's fourth known calf. K12 (born in 1972) has had three previous calves, K22, a female born in 1987, K28, a female born in 1994, and K31, a male born in 1999. All four of her known calves are still living.


K36 (with mom K14/Lea and J1/Ruffles)

20090621BVA_DG2-158K36
2009 photo courtesy of
The Center for Whale Research
First seen on 20 September, 2003, K36 is K14, or "Lea"s calf. K14 has had three previous calves, the first two, K23 and K24, didn't survive. Her third calf, K26, was born to K14 in 1993.


L103

20090621BVA_DG2-240L103
2009 photo courtesy of
The Center for Whale Research
First seen on 4 June, 2003, L103 is 26-year-old L55's third - she has one surviving female calf, L82/Kasatka, born in 1990. She had a male calf, L96 in 1996, who died in 1997.


J39/Mako

J39
2009 photo courtesy of
The Center for Whale Research
On 3 April 2003, a 31 year old resident female orca, J11, was seen with a very new baby, J39, her fourth known offspring. The calf was reported to the Center for Whale Research by Tom McMillen of Salish Sea Charters, and confirmed with photo-documentation by Ken Balcomb and Dave Ellifrit late in the day. The mother, J11, has two other living youngsters: J27, a male born in 1991; and, J31 a female born in 1995. Her first born calf, J25, died in 1988 as a neonate.

J38/Cookie (with mom J22/Oreo)

J38_20061011EEH_DG1_132
2006 photo courtesy of The Center for Whale Research
J38 was first seen in early January, 2003. Mom and baby are reported doing well as of 2005. Historically, however, J22's sister, J20, died in 1998, her mother, J10, died in late 1999, and her brother J18 died in January 2000. J22 has plenty to do taking care of her earlier calf, J34, born in 1998, and she often takes care of J32, her sister's surviving calf from 1996. In July, 2009, J38 was determined by CWR staff to be a male.

K35/Sonata (with mom K16/Opus)

k16andbaby
Photo courtesy of Salish Sea Charters
First seen in November, 2002, and at last report mom and calf are doing fine. We're sad to report that K32, the first known calf of K16, born in November, 2000, died in 2001. K35 was seen looking good in 2005.


L102 (with mom L47/Marina).

L102-beside-mom
Photo courtesy of Salish Sea Charters
L102 has not been seen since Dec. 3rd, 2002, and it appears the calf did not survive
The Center for Whale Research reports that L47's new calf L102, born in early November, 2002, . L47's previous calf, L99, born in 2000, also was listed as missing and presumed dead in 2001. Her two older calves, L83 (female, born in 1990) and L91 (unknown gender, born in 1995) are apparently healthy. Let's hope the other new calves make it through their first precarious years.


L101/Aurora (with mom L67/Splash)

L-101
Photo courtesy of Salish Sea Charters
L101, Aurora, was missing and presumed to have died in early summer of 2008. In September 2008 the calf's mom L67, Splash, appeared to be ill and she too disappeared in October.
First seen October, 2002. L101's mom is L67 (Splash), who gave birth to L98 (Luna) in September, 1999 (see above). At that time there was some confusion about her skills or attitude toward motherhood. In fact it seemed for a while that K18 was actually L98's mom.


L100/Indigo

L100
2009 photo courtesy of Center for Whale Research
First seen November, 2001, mom and baby are also still just fine. L100 is L54's first known calf, which is unusual because L54, born in 1977, was 24 at the time of L100's birth. It's possible that L54 has given birth to one or more other calves that died before they were seen and reported. If so, it would mean she has flushed her body of persistent toxins that build up over the years and are then transfered to newborns, most likely severely damaging their developing bodies. Subsequent newborns, in this case L100, would receive fewer toxins, and so have a better chance of survival to maturity.


K34 (born to K13/Skagit)


First seen October, 2001, and still doing just fine. Mom K13, born in 1972, is also mom to three other healthy offspring, and is not known to have lost any. Her oldest, K20, a female born in 1986, who had a calf, K38, in December, 2004.


L98/Luna - died March 10, 2006.

Luna
Luna was born on or about September 19, 1999, and was seen from the Center for Whale Research the same day. He was first seen with L67 but later that day and for several weeks he was with K18, then returned to the side of L67. He somehow became separated from his mom (L67) and family at less than 18 months of age. Around July, 2001, Luna settled into Nootka Sound, on the northwest side of Vancouver Island, where he remained until his death. His family never ventured into the deeper recesses of Nootka Sound where Luna decided to camp out. Like Springer, he showed his extreme loneliness by rubbing up along boats and seeking out human company. Also like Springer, he was fully competent to feed himself, but there were worries that he would become injured or that his friendliness would get him into dangerous situations. In June, 2004, Canadian officials attempted to capture Luna for transport to a bay near Victoria, BC to be reunited with his family, but when First Nations canoe paddlers sang and beat drums nearby, they drew Luna to them, thwarting the capture attempt. On March 10, 2006 Luna swam too close to the propellors of a large tug boat and was killed.


A73/Springer

Ellen Hartlmeier photo
Although Springer is a member of the Northern resident orca community, she settled in to Puget Sound for six months. Springer lost her mother during the summer of 2001. In the first week of January, 2002, she was reported to the Orca Network Sightings Network in Swinomish Channel, near LaConner, WA, and near Edmonds, WA on January 10. By January 14 she took up residence along a ferry lane near Seattle. Several weeks went by before researchers were able to identify her as a member of the A5-clan of the Northern resident orca community, usually found 400 miles north in Johnstone Strait. Apparently very lonely, she made herself available for onlookers and researchers as she played with driftwood, caught Steelhead salmon (astounding the research community), and visited ferries and boaters. In July, 2002 Springer was captured and transported to a baypen in Johnstone Strait for just a day before she was let go to rejoin her family. She was often seen with her grandmother's group (see photo above) before they went north for the winter. Springer's family has returned to Johnstone Strait in early July every year with Springer looking and acting like an A-5 clan member in good standing. By all accounts Springer's reintroduction to her family was a complete success.


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