Orphaned orca now a mother

SEATTLE – Canadian biologists say an orphaned orca returned to her pod more than a decade ago is now a mom.

The Seattle Times reported that the killer whale dubbed Springer was spotted last week on a routine whale population survey in waters off British Columbia and was accompanied by her first calf.

Biologist John Ford with Fisheries Oceans Canada told the Times that the whale apparently gave birth last winter. The calf’s gender is unknown.

Now 13, Springer was captured in 2002 near Vashon Island, southwest of Seattle, after the emaciated young whale was seen hanging around ferries and boats. After she was fattened up, she was moved by high-speed catamaran to her home pod off British Columbia and released.

Scientists knew from long-term population studies which pod she belonged to, so they were able to return her to the correct family.

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