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Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
WDC's Ed Fox, Chris Butler-Stroud and Carla Boreham take a message from the ocean to parliament

Taking a message from the ocean to parliament

It's a sad fact that whales and dolphins don't vote in human elections, but I...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Tokitae in captivity

Talking to TUI – will they stop supporting whale and dolphin captivity?

Last Thursday I travelled to Berlin for a long-anticipated meeting with TUI senior executives. I...

Earth Day Q&A with Waipapa Bay Wines’ marketing director, Fran Draper

We've been partnered with Waipapa Bay Wines since 2019 so for this year's Earth Day,...

New Southern resident orca born!

The endangered population of orcas known as the Southern Residents were causing quite a stir in Washington State’s Puget Sound last week, with news helicopters broadcasting aerial images of the orcas.  A few eagle-eyed viewers noticed a particularly small orca swimming amongst the others, but blurry stills and screen-grabs from the news footage made it hard to know for sure if we were seeing a brand new calf. 

But just a glimpse was enough to stir everyone’s interest, and on Thursday night, the conversation to figure out what we were seeing was fast and furious – my phone was buzzing with messages.  After a particularly rough couple of years for the Southern Resident orca population, we were all desperate for some good news.

On Friday, the Center for Whale Research (CWR), which has maintained the Southern Resident census for over 40 years, confirmed that there was indeed a  brand new calf in the Southern Resident community!  Given the identification number L124, the new calf (sex unknown) was born to Matia (L77), a 31-year-old female in L pod.  CWR added that new baby L124 is Matia’s third known calf, looked healthy and energetic, and is believed to be several weeks old.  Finally, some good news!

The Southern Resident community has not had a surviving calf in more than three years, after the hopeful baby boom of a few years ago that started with the birth of Scarlet (J50) in December 2014.  Of the eight calves born who lived long enough to receive official designations from CWR, five are still alive today. 

Then, last autumn, three female orcas – one in each pod: J, K, and L – were observed by researchers to be pregnant and L124 is the first calf to be seen. This is such a welcome relief for all of us in the orca community and a piece of good news for the Southern Residents.  Even the orcas themselves seem to be celebrating, with members of all three pods seen socialising and in close contact with each other last Friday afternoon – a rare ‘superpod’ of Southern Residents.  

I’m thrilled and relieved by the news of a brand new calf.  L124 is an inspiration for me to keep up the hard work to ensure he or she has a safe and healthy home to grow up in – with clean and quiet waters and all the salmon they can dream of.  A few names have already been suggested for this newest Southern Resident orca, and while L124 won’t receive an official name until later this year, we like the idea of Promise – new calves indicate there is still promise for recovery in the population, and, with your support, we promise to do everything we can to help them get there.

Enjoy this video of the L pod of the Southern Residents, including L124.

Southern Resident video