Endangered Orca Pod Off British Columbia Produces First Calf Since 2016

Source: The Guardian/Leyland Cecco

Photo: Tim Cole/Unsplash

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A pod of endangered killer whales on Canada’s west coast has produced its first calf in three years, a promising sign for the ailing orcas.

Researchers spotted the newborn calf off the west coast of British Columbia on 31 May as it swam with other members a handful of other whales.

John Forde and Jennifer Steven, who run a whale watching company on Vancouver Island, saw the newborn as part of a routine photographic identification of the pod. The pair were “really excited” by the orange hue of the calf (which will eventually turn white) as well as the presence of foetal folds on its skin, indicating a recent birth.

The pod has struggled for years to produce a healthy calf: the last successful calving occurred in 2016. Last year, a grieving mother carried her dead calf for a week after refusing to leave her baby behind when the rest of her pod moved on.

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Photo: Tim Cole/Unsplash

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