A brand-new orca calf has been seen in the Salish Sea, the Center for Whale Research reported Tuesday evening.
The orca J16, known as Slick, was seen with a new baby that is one or two days old. The birth brings the number of Puget Sound’s southern resident killer whales to 78.
“Good news for the end of 2014!” the center wrote on its Facebook page.
The baby, now known as J50, is the newest member of the J-pod, part of an endangered population of killer whales.
The J-pod is most likely to appear year-round in the waters of the San Juan Islands, according to the center.
J16 was born in 1972; the oldest member of the pod is J2, known as Granny, who is estimated to be 103 years old. The calf is J16’s fifth baby, according to the Orca Network. J16 was not expected to be carrying a calf because of her advanced age.
The news comes a few weeks after the death of J32, an 18-year-old orca known as Rhapsody who was pregnant with a nearly full-term female calf.