August 11, 2010
When is a baby orca not a baby? When it has not been seen by the Center For Whale Research, that is when. They are the research body officially in charge of monitoring the population of the Southern Resident Killer Whales that are found in the Pacific Northwest. They maintain the matriarchal family trees and the population numbering system. They are also the group that makes the official announcement when an individual dies or a new calf is born. Today we are hoping it is the latter.
While Casey was out on the M/V Sea Lion with Sally and Capt. Mike, and I was on the M/V Kittiwake with Capt. Denny, we both thought that we saw what might be a new calf. It was with a group of females that I think were the L47s, but Casey disagrees as usual. That of course would be my girl Marina's family, so a new calf there would make my whole season. If it all turns out to be true, the calf could belong to either Marina or her daughter Muncher who is 15 years old. It would be Muncher's first calf, but since Marina has lost her last four calves, Muncher is possibly the better bet as a mother. We will probably never know why Marina has lost so many calves and there is not enough room in this blog for me to speculate. Suffice it to say that a new baby, whoever the mother is, is good news.
All that is important right at the moment is that Casey and I want to tentatively break the news that there might be a new calf in the population. We will leave it to the Center For Whale Research to make the official announcement and to determine who the mother is. At that time we can say that we knew it all along and then we will have a big party for our 90 orcas!
So, from all of us at San Juan Safaris, to all of you killer whale counters out there, thank you and we will...
See You In The Islands!
~Tristen & Casey, Naturalists