Third Orca Calf Born To Endangered Killer Whale Population In U.S. South Pacific This Winter
Scientists have recently spotted a healthy calf with a pod of killer whales in the waters of the U.S. South Pacific. They believe that the calf is only a few days old. The scientists say this is the third calf born to the endangered killer whale population this winter. There are currently 80 killer whales living in the U.S. South Pacific.
Brad Hanson is a biologist who works for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The group has been following orcas in order to study their feeding habits and behaviors. Hanson says that they observed a group of killer whales and saw a calf within a few minutes. He also said that the calf appeared to be very energetic.
The calf was first seen off of the coast of Westport, Washington. Scientists say that the whales have been traveling from southern Oregon to central Washington during the past few months.
Experts say that the birth of the calf shows that there may be hope for the endangered orca population. However, they say that the orca population is dangerously low. There are many things that are putting orcas in danger, such as over-fishing and environmental pollution. Chincook salmon, is the orcas primary source of food, and it is being depleted.
Last year, there were four whales lost in the orca population. This included a pregnant whale and a calf who was only a few weeks old. Both the United States and Canada have put the Southern Resident orcas on their list of endangered species. The orca population has almost reached an all-time low. The orca population was 98 in 1995. During the 19th century, the Southern Resident orca population was well over 200.
Killer whales are the largest members of the dolphin family. They are very intelligent and social animals.