Baby Orca J50 and Grandma Slick

Baby orca J50 swimming in the slipstream of Grandma Slick in soft sunrise.

I grew up in the Sound not knowing much about Orcas, indeed they were just pretty local residents that got everyone including the locals excited when they would swim by. I’ve had them in my dreams but never really given it a second thought. Then one day I was waiting outside a shop underneath the bones of Rosey (a humpback that beached in Coupeville WA) and reading up on the local wildlife. Surprisingly Puget Sound is home to only three whale pods. They stay here all year round and haven’t mated with any outside pods for centuries. As far as killer whales go I guess they could be considered the vegetarians of the species as they only eat squid and fish, no seals like the transient Orcas are oft seen munchin’ on. Then I read the last bit about there only being 77 Puget Sound orcas left and I was completely stunned. I had always thought they were making a comeback. I’d like to make an effort to help our majestic sea wolves, the Orcas. So here is a drawing of the newest member of pod J. Born only a few days ago, his name is J50 and currently his Grandma Slick and Auntie Echo are baby sitting him while his mother rests. He is none too happy about this and keeps trying to slip away to mama. 🙂 Pretty cute.

J50 is the only living Orca baby from the last two years. Starvation and malnutrition is a big problem for these guys so PLEASE send some positive energy their way. Donate to a local salmon stream rebuilding effort like Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association or volunteer time. (Orcas rely on Salmon for food like so much in our area.) Or even just find ways to reduce your waste water from getting in the Sound. Here are some things YOU can do at your home and with your car that will help keep J50 healthy and eventually well fed.

“The newborn looked healthy and energetic with Slick, but Balcomb noticed it would wander off and have to be corralled back by Slick’s daughter J42, an 8-year-old known as Echo, according to The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor. Babies typically stay right alongside their mothers, Balcomb said.”

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