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Newborn bolsters depleted L-pod ranks
The appearance of a newly born calf is generally cause for celebration.
And while no one is taking L-pod’s newest arrival, L-119, sighted May 29 near the Victoria, B.C. waterfront, lightly, David Ellifrit of the Center for Whale Research notes that one newborn doesn’t make up for those that are missing.
“The population would be 89, if it weren’t for the ones we know have died, like L-112, and the others we still haven’t seen this spring,” he said.
The cause of death of L-112, a 3-year-old female that washed up on the outer coast in February remains under investigation. Ellifrit said two L-pod females, L-12, estimated to be 78 years of age, and L-5, 47 years, have not been seen so far this year. Most members of L-pod, he said, have been spotted. In addition, Ellifrit noted that J-30, a male believed to be about 16 years of age, is also accounted for.
“We haven’t seen him all spring either,” he said.
The new calf was photographed when nearly the entire population of Southern residents, J, K and L pods, were traveling through Haro Strait, Ellifrit said.