After nine births, Southern-resident orcas in Puget Sound number 85.

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In just over a year, Puget Sound has welcomed nine baby Southern-resident orcas to the fold, as the pod continues to rebound from 30-year-low numbers reported at the end of 2014.

The newest members of the J and L pods, which inhabit Washington’s inland waters along with the K pod, face myriad hazards, including pollution, busy shipping traffic and a threatened food supply.

The cetaceans have been listed since 2005 for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Chinook salmon, the orcas’ favorite food, are also listed under the ESA.

In photos taken from a drone, released last fall, the whales appear to be in good health.

Nine Southern-resident orcas have been born since December 2014: Six in the J pod and three in the L pod, raising the population to 85.
Nine Southern-resident orcas have been born since December 2014: Six in the J pod and three in the L pod, raising the population to 85.