Posted by: The ocean update | December 30, 2015

Dead baby orca found washed up on Vancouver Island (Canada)

A new baby killer whale has been born in the J Pod group of resident whales believed to be headed for the Strait of Georgia, bringing the number of new births since last December to eight. The U.S.-based Center for Whale Research said the calf — designated J54 — is the offspring of mother J28 and a sibling to a female calf born in 2009. J28 and J54 are pictured here. Photograph by : Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research

A new baby killer whale has been born in the J Pod group of resident whales believed to be headed for the Strait of Georgia, bringing the number of new births since last December to eight. The U.S.-based Center for Whale Research said the calf — designated J54 — is the offspring of mother J28 and a sibling to a female calf born in 2009. J28 and J54 are pictured here. Photograph by : Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015. VICTORIA, British Columbia – A baby orca has been found dead in a remote bay on the west coast of Vancouver Island, but experts aren’t sure if it is one of the young killer whales born recently to one of the pods that frequents Puget Sound waters.

Paul Cottrell, marine mammal coordinator with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said the baby whale was found about a week ago by a surfer in Barclay Sound near Ucluelet. There were wolf tracks around the body.

A crew retrieved the body and took it to Vancouver for a necropsy. A cause of death has not yet been determined, but early indications show an infection was involved, Cottrell said.

The necropsy also revealed that the orca was a 340-pound female between one week and two months of age.

DNA samples were taken but officials haven’t yet determined if the whale is one of several babies born to Puget Sound’s J Pod over the past year. The closely watched Puget Sound orcas have experienced a baby boom with eight new calves born in the past year.

Cottrell said transient killer whales have been seen in the area, so the dead orca could be one of theirs.

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