Featured Image Credit:Graham Moore
To say that we are deeply saddened is an understatement. We regret to announce that a member of the J-pod southern resident orca whale population was found floating near Sechelt, British Columbia this Wednesday.
CBC News reported that members from the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Research Program are en route to Sechelt to work with the DFO in performing a necropsy.
The DFO’s marine mammal coordinator, Paul Cottrell, commented, “We’ve got the whale now on the beach, and we’re actually in the middle of the necropsy.”
The male orca whale was lovingly (and numerically) known as J-34. Born in 1998, the whale played a major role in the recent orca baby boom where 8 calves were born in 2015. Unfortunately, not all of the calves survived their first year of life.
The killer whale was first spotted on Tuesday night, but Cottrell mentioned that they couldn’t safely secure and bring the whale to shore until Wednesday afternoon. He also credited the Coast Guard and Sechelt First Nation for springing into action and readily assisting with the orca recovery.
Cottrell commented to CBC News, “The people we were able to get here quickly is amazing, and a testament to how dedicated they are. Every day that goes by you lose information in terms of tissues and pathologies. So it’s good that we acted fast in determining the cause of death for this animal.”
The J-pod makes up one of the 3 pods in the souther resident killer whale population. As of 2003, the species has been listed as Endangered under the Species At Risk Act. Currently, the populations flutters around 80 members.
We couldn’t agree more with Cottrell, “It’s a real unfortunate event, given the endangered status of the population.”