There is a delightfully unusual Orca baby boom being reported in the NE Pacific just now, 8, Whoa make that 9 new births!
The gestation period of an orca at 17 months is the longest known of all cetaceans, and all these new baby Orcas says something wonderful must have already happened to bring the mother Orca’s back to healthy fertility and new babies into our world.
Mother Orca’s may bear a calf in the best of times only every 3-5 years however in recent times more than a decade has passed between even one Orca birth so it is clear something wonderful happened on the Orca ocean pastures to bring health and abundance back to those pastures.
Orca’s aka ‘killer whales’ that roam the ocean pastures of the NE Pacific are experiencing a joyous Orca whale baby boom with a fourth baby orca now seen in the waters of the Salish Sea making this a winter of record births. The latest healthy newborn was spotted Monday by whale-watching crews and a naturalist in the waters of British Columbia, according to the Pacific Whale Watch Association, which represents 29 whale-watching operators in Washington and British Columbia.
With so many new baby Orca’s being seen in the tiny region covered by the whale watching tourist fleet many more are sure to be born in the vastly larger and remoter regions of the west coast of North America.
The new baby orca, seen above, was swimming with other members of the J-pod, one of three families of orcas that are protected in Washington and British Columbia. Ken Balcomb, a senior scientist with the Center for Whale Research at 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.
The birth brings the population to 81, still dangerously low. Listed as an endangered speices in the USA since 2005, these Orca whales have been struggling because of dramatic collapse of NE Pacific ocean pastures and fish that are their primary food.
Their ocean pastures and the fish that used to grow on those pastures have been turning into an ever bleaker blue desert for decades, at least until something wonderful happened in 2012.
The history making record return of salmon to Alaska in the fall of 2013 (and big return of Spring salmon in 2014) offered the first glimmer of a return to health of the NE Pacific ocean pasture. More than 4 times the expected number of salmon were caught, 226 million vs. 50 million, proved a bounty of abundant ocean pasture life was available to all including the Orcas. The salmon kept coming as last years record numbers returning to the Columbia river attest. For the Orcas this abundance of fish to eat leading to healthier mother whales came at just the perfect time to provide for and explain our new abundance of adorable babies.
Something Wonderful Is Happening!
This is a world of endless doom and gloom about the plight of nature.
In 2012 our small band of nature lovers set about to be good shepherds and to replenish and restore a key ocean pasture of the NE Pacific. We succeeded beyond our wildest dreams and the ocean that had become a blue desert bloomed with incredible abundance. A volcano of life poured back into that depleted ocean pasture. Then just as expected one year later the baby salmon that were thriving instead of starving on that flourishing ocean pasture brought the first proof of something wonderful happening to us.
In Alaska that year instead of the “good” catch of 50 million Pink salmon predicted 226 million salmon swam into the nets and onto the plates of Alaskan fishermen and American children. The largest catch of salmon in all of history!
Here’s a bonus story from our work restoring and replenishing our North Pacific ocean pasture. We were joined in that effort by two Orca’s known very well by our native ships cook as Uncle Fred and Little Fred. This is their story.
Now Replenished and Restored Ocean Pastures Are Bringing Us Easter Lambs
Now the results of our ocean pasture replenishment and restoration are being seen in perfect timing as a result of Orca mothers being well fed and nourished in the fall of 2013 and in prime breeding health. Darling Orca “lambs” of the ocean pasture are here for all to enjoy. Well perhaps they are more like darling Orca “wolf pups” but never-the-less new babies are always a welcome sight.
“This one looked quite plump and healthy,” said Balcomb, who reviewed photographs of the newborn. “We’re getting there. We wish all these babies well. They look good.”
Michael Harris, executive director with the Pacific Whale Watch Association, said, “Who doesn’t love baby orcas, right?” But he, too, urged measured optimism. “We’re going to keep a careful watch on these babies and our fingers crossed”.
The newest orca was spotted Monday swimming with a calf that was born in December and a female whale. Another calf was born to the J-pod in early February, while a calf in the L-pod was observed in late February. 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.
A penny for our planet is all that is needed to restore ocean pastures everywhere!
Our work isn’t complete. Ocean pastures like pastures on land need perpetual good shepherding. That’s the life’s work before us and our children. We must give back to nature so that she may give back to us. The effort is not so grand and impossibly expensive as those who would demand trillions to save the planet from the ills of our fossil CO2 induced deadly climate change.
The cost of replenishing and restoring ocean pastures around the world is not trillions, not billions, but mere millions. We’ve proven it works and we’re delighted to welcome the new baby Orca’s into our world and theirs to prove it. You can help by supporting the work, not in approving more than you can afford but instead spending the very least you might possibly give – just a penny for our planet.
If you have a few minutes to spae watch the YouTube vid below to experience the joyous sounds of Orcas.