It appears the Southern Resident killer whale family has a new member.
Researchers have identified a new calf swimming beside the whale known as L-77, which had been pregnant. The young whale was spotted swimming with the K Pod and the pod near Vashon Island in Washington state on Thursday afternoon.
Researchers are working to determine the sex of the young whale.
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Both pods were seen swimming again Friday in the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca. It’s believed they are heading toward Victoria, B.C.
Researchers say there are two other pregnant whales in K Pod and J Pod.
Earlier this month, researchers said the southern residents have not had a successful pregnancy in three years.
Last summer, the killer whale known as J-35 gave birth to a calf that died shortly afterward. The whale carried the carcass of her dead calf for more than two weeks.
The Southern Resident population is at a 35-year low after three deaths in 2018. There are only 74 of the whales left.
—With files from the Associated Press