One of the three resident pods of Orca whales, K-pod, now has a new member! Here are the details, courtesy of the Friday Harbor Whale Museum:
“On July 6, a new calf was spotted by Jeanne Hyde, The Whale Museum’s Orca Adoption Program Coordinator, at 6:47 a.m. from shore on the west side of San Juan Island. The Center for Whale Research later confirmed the calf, K-44, belongs to Deadhead, K-27. This is the first known calf for Deadhead. While The Center was photographing the whales and getting ID shots of the new calf, Deadhead obligingly rolled under her new baby and lifted it up so the markings on the underside could be seen. From this, K-44 was determined to be a male. This is exciting information as it can sometimes take months or even years to discover the gender. The calf also appears to have an open saddle patch.
K-44 joins the K-13 matriline which includes grandmother Skagit (K-13), auntie Spock (K-20), uncles Scoter (K-25) and Cali (K-34), and cousin Comet (K-38). The birth of K-44 unofficially brings the number of the Southern Resident killer whales up to 88.
Of Special Note: According to research paper by Mike Ford et al, K-44 is the grandson of Ruffles (J-1)!”