A fifth baby orca has been born in the Pacific Northwest in what has been described as a baby boomer. The Pacific Killer Whales have been extremely endangered in this area, but these newborns are bringing hope as there have been five born since December.
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The newest baby, spotted Monday by members of the Center for Whale Research, was seen swimming alongside its mother near Sooke, British Colombia. They named the calf L122, which signifies that it is part of the Puget Sound's L-pod.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, the researchers believe that there will be a comeback in the population's numbers following a significant slide in the recent years. Back in 1992, the orca population reached a high of 98, but slid to 78 last summer. Then, in December 2014, a pregnant orca was found dead near Vancouver in the Straight of Georgia, which dropped the population to a low of 77. Currently, they are up to 82 whales, and conditions look good that there will be more births in the coming years.
However, these births aren't yet enough to take them off of the endangered species list because between 35 and 45 percent of newborn orcas don't live a full year. If they survive, they will be the first newborns who have lived through their first year in the Puget Sound population in the last two and a half years.
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Eric Ward, who tracks the whale population for NOAA Fisheries, [said] the pods are still a long way from the 120 whales necessary to remove them from the endangered list. However, the mother orca and her new calf seemed to be accepted into the other two pods in the area as they swam in the Haro Strait.