The Slatest

“Who Doesn’t Love Baby Orcas, Right?”

An orca calf and a female orca off the coast of Washington in late February. Another orca calf was sighted Monday.

Candice Emmons/NOAA Fisheries/Handout/Reuters

Some good news in another stupid week: A newborn orca was spotted off British Columbia on Monday, making it the fourth baby orca (aka killer whale) seen this winter in an endangered Pacific Northwest population. From the AP:

Ken Balcomb, a senior scientist with the Center for Whale Research on Friday Harbor, confirmed the birth to The Associated Press on Tuesday. The center keeps the official census of endangered southern resident killer whales for the federal government … While he and others hailed the birth of four baby orcas since December, they cautioned that the survival rate for babies is about 50 percent.

“Given where we were four months ago, it’s certainly the trend we’re hoping for,” Brad Hanson, wildlife biologist with NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, said Tuesday.

Said Michael Harris of Pacific Whale Watch Association, “Who doesn’t love baby orcas, right?”

More from the AP:

Balcomb said he thinks the baby’s mother could be J-16, the female whale it was swimming with Monday. But it may be some time before the relationships are sorted out, he added.

Indeed, Ken Balcomb. Relationships with one’s parents do take some time to sort out.