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New orca born to endangered pod in the Pacific Northwest is female

Scientists believe the whale was born in late May. They have designated her as J56.

Posted: Jul 8, 2019 6:43 AM
Updated: Jul 8, 2019 6:53 AM

SEATTLE (AP) - Researchers have confirmed a new calf born to a pod of endangered orcas in the Pacific Northwest is female.

Scientists believe the whale was born in late May. They have designated her J56.

She is the second calf born in the last five months to southern resident killer whales that frequent Puget Sound and other waters around Washington State and British Columbia.

In January, researchers identified another orca calf in the L pod, L124 or Lucky. That calf was last seen back in March and appeared to be in good health.

RELATED: Group sues to expand protected Orca habitat in Northwest 

The births are welcome news for a southern resident population that dropped to more than a 30-year low last year.

Declining prey, pollution and boat noise all threaten the whales.

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