L125 pops its head out of the water as it swims alongside mother L86 on Feb. 17, 2021.

Oh, baby! Southern residents welcome new calf to L Pod

  • Mon Feb 22nd, 2021 1:30am
  • News

Submitted by The Center for Whale Research.

The Center for Whale Research is thrilled to confirm that a new calf, L125, has been born into the Southern resident killer whale community. Following word that J, K, and L pod were in Haro Strait, CWR dispatched two boats with field researchers to photo-identify the new calf and as many other SRKWs as possible for our annual population census.

​CWR’s photo-ID expert, Dave Ellifrit, captured images that show L125 with fetal folds, indicating a relatively recent birth.

“It is nicely filled out and appears to be a perfectly normal little calf,” said Ellifrit.

L125’s size and shape are typical of a calf in good physical condition. The new calf’s mother is L86, her fourth offspring.

Drs John Durban and Holly Fernbach (SR3) captured drone photographs of L125 and, given its size, estimate it to be a month to a month-and-a-half old.

L125 has one living sibling, L106 (male), born in 2005. L86 has given birth to two other calves: L112 and L120, both now deceased. L112 (born in 2009) was killed by blunt force trauma during military exercises in 2012. L120 was born and died in 2014.

L125 is the first calf born into L pod since January 2019 when L77 gave birth to L124.

The last time the Center for Whale Research encountered Southern resident orcas in the Salish Sea was with J and K pod on Jan. 20. CWR’s most recent previous encounter with L pod was Sept. 24, 2020.

The other calves born into J pod in 2020, J57 and J58, were observed today and looked to be doing well.

 

L125 pops its head out of the water as it swims alongside mother L86 on Feb. 17, 2021.  (Center for Whale Research/Contributed photo)

Aerial photo of L125 with mother L86. (John Durban and Holly Fernbach, SR3/Contributed photo)