New Orca Calf – Just in Time For Christmas!

J16 Slick with her new baby calf J48 and her 2007 daughter J42. Photo by Candice Emmons, NWFSC, December 17, 2011. Taken under NOAA permit #781182400.

Exciting News! It’s been kept quiet to make sure all parties confirmed, but NOAA’s NW Fisheries Science Center and the Center for Whale Research have confirmed that on December 17, 39-year old J16 (Slick) gave birth to a new baby calf in Puget Sound, probably only a few hours judging from the fresh fetal folds, before being seen and photographed by veteran field researcher Candice Emmons of NWSFC. This makes J16’s fifth calf since her first, J26, was born in 1991. She was the sixteenth J pod orca photographed and identified by Mike Bigg in 1972, and is among the oldest whose age is known exactly. Her matriline is known as the J7’s after J16’s late mother. Photos of the family can be found by scrolling down the Center for Whale Research matriline guide.  This report comes to us courtesy of whale watch Captain Jim Maya.