The Center for Whale Research has received photographs taken by the Tofino Whale Centre of a calf accompanying J pod off of Tofino on May 30, 2019. Researchers at the CWR have confirmed that the calf is a new addition, and based on its coloration and body condition was likely born some time in the last one to three weeks.
Photo Credit: John Forde and Jennifer Steven
"Yesterday we got word from Tim (The Whale Centre) and Jeffrey Tom (Jamie’s) that there were Killer Whales four miles off Lennard Light. John and I headed out on the Lil Salty to go out and see who the whales were. We got on scene and determined that the whales were in fact J pod. All whale watching companies made the call to stop watching the whales once they knew they were in fact SRKW. [Editor's note: The Pacific Whale Watch Association has an agreement with the Canadian Dept of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to not do whale watching tours of J, K and L pods.]
"We took a few photo of the whales to send to DFO and the Centre for Whale Research. John noticed a brand new calf with J41. We were both really excited to see the calf was very orange and still had fetal folds. We observed the new calf with J41 and J19.
"We see J pod once a year, the last time we saw them was June 8th, 2018, they were also heading down the coast."
The Center for Whale Research says more field observations are needed to determine the identity of the calf's mother. She was photographed with several J pod females, including J31, J46, and J40.
Prior to 2019, the Southern Resident killer whale population had no documented successful births since 2016. This calf marks the second birth of 2019, following L124 in January.