Orca baby boom: 5th calf born

Another orca calf has been spotted off the coast of Vancouver Island, raising the tally born since last December to five.

L-122 is the fifth calf spotted in the past year in the waters off Vancouver Island

The new calf, L-122, was spotted with its mother L-91, on Monday near Victoria. (Dave Ellifrit/Centre for Whale Research)

Another orca calf has been spotted off the coast of Vancouver Island, raising the tally born since last December to five.

The new calf, which has been named L-122,  was spotted with its mother L-91 in the waters near near Sooke and Victoria on Tuesday, according to the Centre for Whale Research, which is based in Friday Harbour, Wash.

The mother and baby and other L pod whales spent the afternoon and evening in Haro Strait 'fishing', and by days end were joined by J and K pod members, said a statement released by the researchers.

Another calf born around February, L-121, is also a member of L-pod, and researchers are hopeful the baby boom represents a turn-around for local killer whale populations, including the endangered southern resident population. 

Since orca surveys began about 40 years ago, the most orca births recorded in a single year in the region was nine in 1977.

But orca calves only have a 50 per cent survival rate and in 2013 or 2014, none of the calves born survived.

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