Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 63° Cloudy
News >  Pacific NW

New orca born to K pod family of southern residents

UPDATED: Wed., May 4, 2022

A female resident orca whale breaches while swimming in Puget Sound near Bainbridge Island, Wash., as seen from a federally permitted research vessel in 2014.  (Associated Press)
A female resident orca whale breaches while swimming in Puget Sound near Bainbridge Island, Wash., as seen from a federally permitted research vessel in 2014. (Associated Press)
Associated Press

SEATTLE — A calf has been born into the K pod family of southern resident orcas, the first in 11 years.

Deborah Giles, science and research director for the nonprofit Wild Orca, confirmed the birth this week, The Seattle Times reported. Giles said the baby was born to K20, a female also known as Spock.

Giles says the new orca was first spotted by a person fishing off the Oregon coast on April 28. The baby’s sex is not known.

“For it to be a female would be ideal,” she said. “But anybody in K pod is just so special and hopeful.”

Recent births among the southern residents have skewed heavily male.

Both K and L pods have been seen recently off the Oregon coast.

This is the second birth to the southern residents this year. J pod saw the birth of J59 this winter.

With the newest birth, the population of endangered southern residents is now 75 — if an L pod whale that so far has not been seen this year, L89, turns up.

The southern residents are struggling to survive several threats including lack of adequate Chinook salmon in their foraging range, pollution and underwater noise that makes it harder for them to hunt.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.