Resident Orca count at 81. Good news – Seattle Times and others

Official orca census: 81 whales, including 4 babies. Up from 78 .

Researchers tracking the southern resident killer whales have photo confirmation of each whale, said Ken Balcomb, a senior scientist with the Center for Whale Research.

Orca census shows increase in Southern Resident population -Watching Our Waterways

Some good news it seems, though preliminary.

A census of the killer whales that frequent Puget Sound is due today, and it appears that the total population of the three Southern Resident pods is 82, up from 79 last year at this time. But that’s not the end of the story, because two small groups of orcas have not been seen recently — so a final count must wait, according to Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research, which conducts the annual census. Chris Dunagan reports.

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2015/07/01/orca-census-shows-increase-in-southern-resident-population/

Update: Newborn joins J-pod; mother may be missing – San Juan Journal

News on the new birth of a calf is tempered by sobering data that it may not make it. A true life animal drama happening right in front of us.

—————————
…While studying the photos of the calf it appeared to [Ken] Balcomb and his team that newborn J-50 had teeth marks on its dorsal fin, which could indicate a difficult birth, where another whale had to use its mouth to help pull the baby out of its mother’s uterus…. Perhaps the most important missing link to the story is J-36, the 16-year-old daughter of J-16, who wasn’t seen when the baby was discovered amidst the clan. Under normal circumstances, J-36 would be traveling with or near her family. Having strung all the pieces together, Balcomb speculates that J-36, who is of prime breeding age, is the mother of J-50, and could have died during a complicated birth–meaning that J-16 is the calf’s grandmother and will not be able to provide milk. “Worst case scenario is we have another example where a female died giving birth,” Balcomb said. “Best case  is that grandma (J-16) is mom, and J-36 missing is coincidence.” Emily Greenberg reports. (San Juan Journal)

http://www.sanjuanjournal.com/news/287228441.html

Push for ‘No Go’ zone revitalized in attempt to limit stress on whales -San Juan Journal

Probably going to happen, but unlikely it’s going to have much affect. The need for more chinook is likely to be more useful. Not even NOAA could point to any science saying this is a successful strategy, but it’s a popular one among some people. Some of them are wealthy shoreline land owners on San Juan Island who want the boats out of the backyard.

In the wake of the death of J32, a pregnant female of the Southern Resident orca whales, a call to action resurfaced last week for a “No-Go” whale protection zone off the westside of San Juan Island. Orca Relief Citizens Alliance is urging the National Marine Fisheries Service to adopt its outline and begin the formal public process of establishing a no-go zone. Emily Greenberg reports. (San Juan Journal)

http://www.sanjuanjournal.com/news/286607561.html

Orca necropsy shows fetus died first: report – Times Colonist

It appears that the fetus died first and may have caused the death of the mother. Still no firm understanding if the fetus was impacted by environmental issues, or whether it was a natural death.

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/orca-necropsy-shows-fetus-died-first-report-1.1662531

Southern Resident orcas defy recovery efforts – Skagit Valley Herald

The efforts are still not working to save the Southern Resident Orcas. Good intentions alone won’t do the job.

A decade after gaining federal protection, the Southern Resident orcas of Puget Sound aren’t making progress. With 78 whales, the population has 20 fewer than when the group was first listed under the Endangered Species Act. A calf born in September offered a glimmer of hope, which was quickly snuffed out when the baby disappeared before the end of the month. Much like the presumed death of calf L120, what exactly is hindering the species’ recovery remains a mystery. A lack of food coupled with an abundance of toxins and boat traffic are thought to be contributors. But what could reverse the orca’s downward trend has yet to be pinpointed. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

 http://www.goskagit.com/all_access/southern-resident-orcas-defy-recovery-efforts/article_f6b38b5a-70ad-5616-983e-adb984819aa0.html

Killer whales expected to head south any day now- Kitsap Sun

Chris Dunagan at Watching Our Water Ways blogs: “As chum salmon swim back to their home streams in Puget Sound this fall, three killer whale pods — the Southern Residents — can be expected to follow, making their way south along the eastern shoreline of the Kitsap Peninsula. These forays into Central and South Puget Sound could begin any day now and continue until the chum runs decline in November or December. The Southern Residents, which typically hang out in the San Juan Islands in summer, have not been spotted for several days, so they are likely somewhere in the ocean at the moment, according to Howard Garrett of Orca Network. (Kitsap Sun)

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2014/10/01/killer-whales-expected-to-head-south-any-day-now/#axzz3EsDVWuTD

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 712 other followers

%d bloggers like this: