Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday orca blogging

-- by Dave

Because we here at Orcinus are dedicated to all things killer whalish, be aware that, as the scientists have been warning, we're now seeing a downturn (albeit minor) in population for the Puget Sound's southern resident orcas:
This summer’s annual count of endangered southern resident killer whales indicates that the net population has dropped from 87 to 86, the first downturn in the orca subspecies in six years.

Although two new baby orcas were born this spring — designated L-109 and J-42 — those births were not enough to offset the loss of other orcas, according to The Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbor.

Last fall, scientists feared that two calves and three adult orcas were dead. Those apparent deaths were confirmed this spring, along with the discovery that a third youngster, whose mother was among the missing, hadn’t returned with her pod.

“The summer’s not over,” said Kelley Balcomb-Bartok, a research associate at the center. “It’s not unusual for calves to be born in August or September. This is by no means a final number.”

Also, while we're on the subject, you all remember the sonar issues for these whales, particularly from the U.S. Navy. Well, the Canadian Navy says that it's much more sensitive than the bloody Yanks when it comes to this, but somehow their reassurances fall short of the mark.

I'll close with a shot of the K pod in Haro Strait, with the Olympic Mountains in the background:

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