British Columbia

Orca baby boom: 6th baby born this year to endangered pod

A baby Orca seen Saturday alongside a 38-year-old whale is believed to be the sixth offspring born within the endangered Southern Resident pod, bringing smiles to scientists.

Orca calf seen swimming in Haro Strait beside 'grandma' whale, Princess Angeline

Baby Orca number six is seen swimming off the San Juan Islands on Saturday with a whale dubbed Princess Angeline, herself a grandmother at 38-years-old. (Heather MacIntyre/Pacific Whale Watch Association)

The sixth Orca calf born to a previously endangered pod signifies a definite boom in a population that has been on the slide to extinction.

The calf was seem swimming alongside a 38-year-old whale, affectionately called Princess Angeline.

The birth, which brings the whale groups' ocean-going population to 82, is buoying hopes.

The mother appears to be a well-established member of J-Pod, part of the endangered Southern Resident community of Orcas that travel along B.C.'s west coast.

"Now we've got a grandma having a baby," said Michael Harris, executive director of the Pacific Whale Watch Association. "Forty is definitely the new 30."

The Oct. 24 sighting of this new calf is more proof of a baby boom among the group of Orcas.

If Princess Angeline, or J17, is the mother, this is her fourth calf. She is also a grandmother to two calves.

"The wide range of ages of the mothers has really been fascinating to us," said Harris.

"This year we've had the youngest mother on record give birth, a 10-year-old, and three of the oldest. Now we've got a grandma having a baby."

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