May 31, 2012 in Region

Orcas return to Puget Sound with new baby

Associated Press
Associated Press/Courtesy of the Center for Whale Research photo

In this photo provided by the Center for Whale Research, a newborn orca calf that researchers estimate is less than a week old, surfaces beside its mother, known as J16, as they swam Wednesday, May 2, 2007, near San Juan Island, Wash. The calf, who has been named J42, displays the orange coloring common to baby orcas.
(Full-size photo)

BREMERTON, Wash. — Killer whales have returned to Puget Sound waters with a new baby.

All three pods — J, K and L — were spotted Tuesday in the San Juan Islands. Howard Garret of Orca network says it was the first time since October they had been seen together.

The whale watchers were excited to see the baby orca, which has been designated L-119 by the Center for Whale Research.

The Kitsap Sun reports it’s the second known offspring for the mother, L-77, a 25-year-old named Matia. Her first baby two years ago only survived a few months.

Counting the new calf, the population of the endangered southern resident orcas is 88 — 26 in J pod, 20 in K pod and 42 in L pod.

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