As the summer season nears it’s close, we would like to take a moment to honor the memory of Ruffles, the oldest living male orca in the Southern Resident pods. Ruffles was the very first orca to be given an alphanumeric designation (J1) way back in the early 1970s when the resident pods were first being studied. He lived to be almost 60 years old – quite a feat when you consider the average age of a male orca is only half that.
His tall, wavy dorsal fin was so easy to identify, he quickly became a favorite among researchers and visitors alike. This summer we all felt the blues when Ruffles didn’t return with his pod. He will be remembered with great fondness, and we can only hope that those of his lineage will enjoy long, healthy lives as well.