Whale researchers who have been documenting a population of killer whales are celebrating after they spotted a baby orca (Killer whales are also known as orca) off the coast of Washington State, report The State. The baby orca was spotted in an area not far from the San Juan Island in Washington. The baby orca is a member of a pod of killer whales that are known to frequent the Puget Sound region.
According to Yahoo News, the newborn orca was sighted over the weekend as it swam the waters of Washington with two adult females. While one of the orcas is believed to be the baby orca’s mother, the other one is most likely one of the calf’s aunts. Orca pods usually contain closely related family members, and they hunt in groups. The new Orca has been designated the serial number L-120, and with its addition to the “roster,” the total number of documented orcas in the Puget Sound area now stands at 79.
Meanwhile, according to Kel Balcomb, who holds a position at the Canter for Whale Research, the age of the baby orca is less than a week. They have yet to determine the sex of the baby orca. He adds that the birth of the new calf couldn’t have come at a better time. The region has already seen two orca deaths in 2014, driving the numbers down for a species that is struggling to survive. He adds that pollution, lack of food, and other human-caused reasons are still endangering the lives of these beautiful creatures.
Orcas are widely considered to be the apex predators of the ocean. These mammals are a close relative of the dolphins, and are known for their exceptional intelligence, co-operation, and group hunting techniques. It is generally thought that even the dreaded Great White Shark prefers to keep a safe distance from these giants. There have been several documented instances of sharks being preyed upon by Orcas. These mammals are also a familiar sight at several marine theme parks – although their presence there is a controversial subject.
[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]