It appears Springer the baby orca may no longer be an orphan after whale researchers spotted her swimming with her family over the weekend.
Dr. Paul Spong says the baby whale was seen returning to the waters of the Johnstone Strait with her family pod.
"We are about 98 per cent sure that she is there at this point, so we feel good about that," said Spong. Spong, with Orca Lab, says the news looks very good for Springer.
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She was last seen swimming with members of her pod A4 three weeks ago. But over the weekend, Spong's daughter Anna, a researcher, spotted Springer five or six times.
The baby whale was moving at high speed in the Johnstone Strait with her mother's siblings.
"She's continued to be energetic, she's in the company of other whales. She's with kin, including her closest kin at least some of the time, and she seems to be re-adapting to life in her larger community very well," said Dr. Spong.
Spong says that exceeds all of his previous expectations.
He says while Springer can't be compared to a captive whale in an aquarium, it does show a whale can be successfully re-integrated to a pod after a lengthy separation.
He hopes that could help in returning other captive whales to the wild.
Springer was nursed back to health after she was found alone in shipping lanes seven months ago. She had become separated from her pod.