Scientists confirm new orca calf born to J pod

In this photo taken July 18, 2013, an orca whale breaches.
In this photo taken July 18, 2013, an orca whale breaches. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Kitsap Sun, Meegan M. Reid

VANCOUVER – Scientists say another baby has been born to an endangered pod of killer whales off British Columbia’s coast — the second new addition in less than two months.

The latest calf born to the J pod of the southern resident orca population is being labelled J-51 and is estimated to be about one week old.

The Center for Whale Research has confirmed the newborn was spotted in the Juan de Fuca Strait on Thursday.

Scientists say the healthy-looking baby, whose gender is unknown, was seen swimming between its presumed mother, 36-year-old J-19, and its presumed sister, 10-year-old J-41.

When a female calf, J-50, was discovered off Pender Island in late December, experts said it was the first successful birth to the southern resident population in about two-and-a-half years.

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There are now 79 southern resident orcas in the waters of B.C. and Washington State, and 26 in the J pod.

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