Researchers name newest baby orca spotted in B.C. waters


A young southern resident killer whale spotted swimming in the waters off the west side of Vancouver Island now has a name.

The Center for Whale Research based in Washington state says it has dubbed the latest addition to the K Pod as K45 after staff spotted it in a tight group with other family members northeast of Race Rocks.

The centre says it received video and photographs of a possible new calf in April and June, but now a field biologist was among those who confirmed its presence, though the calf’s sex is not yet known.

It says K45 is K Pod’s first baby since 2011, when K27 gave birth to a calf called K44.

It says in a release that K45’s mother was born in 1986 and has two siblings, K27 and K34, a male.

The Pacific Whale Watch Association, which represents 29 whale-watching companies in B.C. and Washington state, said in January that 2021 was a record year for whale sightings in the Salish Sea.