Advertisement

New orca calf spotted swimming with Southern Resident killer whales

Click to play video: 'Newborn orca seen swimming with Southern Resident killer whales' Newborn orca seen swimming with Southern Resident killer whales
WATCH: Aerial footage shows a new orca calf swimming with the K and L Pod whales in the Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca Friday morning. According to researchers the whale, who has not yet been identified as male or female, is thought to be the baby of L77 – Jan 11, 2019

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.

READ MORE: Habitat protection widened for endangered killer whales off Vancouver Island

Researchers are working to determine the sex of the young whale.

WATCH: (Aired Dec. 14, 2018) Partial whale watching ban off Washington state

Click to play video: 'Partial whale watching ban off Washington State' Partial whale watching ban off Washington State
Partial whale watching ban off Washington State – Dec 14, 2018

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.

Story continues below advertisement

Researchers say there are two other pregnant whales in K Pod and J Pod.

READ MORE: Feds to create ocean sanctuaries off Vancouver Island to protect endangered killer whales

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

Sponsored content