Amid a baby boom for Puget Sound’s resident orcas, one of the new calves is missing and presumed dead.
FRIDAY HARBOR — Amid a baby boom for Puget Sound’s resident orcas, one of the new calves is missing and presumed dead.
The Center for Whale Research on San Juan Island says the calf — a member of the whale group known as J-Pod and designated J-55 — was first documented on Jan. 18, but it wasn’t seen when other close family members were seen the next day.
The organization says that last week researchers had a chance to survey the entire pod, and J-55 was nowhere to be found.
Research director Deborah Giles says the loss of any orca calf is a blow, but it’s not entirely surprising, since as many as 50 percent of newborn orcas fail to survive their first year.
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J-55 was the ninth orca calf born since December 2014 to the endangered population of killer whales that spend time in Washington state inland waters. It would be at least the second to have died.