I've just received word from Susan and Howard over at Orca Network that there have been two new calves sighted with the Southern Resident orcas! Here's what they have to say in their weekly report:
Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research confirmed "there are two new calves (one in J and one in L), but we are not officially specifying mums yet. We are conferring with Dr. John Ford and our Canadian colleagues before stating possible mothers. We would like to have several encounters with the babies and their mothers before assigning because grandma's may also confuse things."
This is really great news! If the calves survive, it would bring the So. Resident population up to about 85 - still way too low for this fragile, endangered population, but every new birth counts and moves this population in the right direction. It is especially good news after the loss of seven members of the So. Residents last year (which included 2 of the 3 calves born, and several reproductive age females). Let's hope the whales come back into inland waters again soon, so researchers can have more encounters and confirm who the new moms are.
I'll keep my ears and eyes open for any more news regarding an increase in our resident orca population. Until then, think happy thoughts for these whales!