A baby orca jumps out of the water on a sunny day.
Photo Credit: Fisheries and Oceans Canada / Twitter

Is it a Boy or a Girl? Why the Newest Orca Calf’s Gender is So Important

Very few female calves have survived lately

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The healthy baby girl orca is good news for the endangered species

Scientists got a few lucky snaps of a baby orca swimming off of Vancouver Island. It’s a good thing, too — those photos helped Fisheries and Oceans Canada figure out the new baby is a girl.

Orca lovers celebrated the birth as the Southern resident orca pod needs more females to assist with population growth.

Most recent births have been male. Samuel Wasser of University of Washington’s Conservation Biology told Settle’s Q13 Fox News that the most likely theory for the male bias in recent southern resident male calves is inbreeding.

Male calves have an X chromosome which provided a genetic advantage that helps them survive the stresses of pregnancy.

Southern resident orcas are an endangered species. They eat Chinook salmon, but those are hard to find these days. The whales are sometimes killed by boats, too.

The roughly six-month-old calf, dubbed L125, was photographed in the Swiftsure Bank area just off the southern coast west of Port Renfrew.

It’s no surprise Scientists spotted the new baby orca in this area.

Swiftsure Bank is a seasonal protected area. That means boats need to stay away at certain times of the year when we know many orca calves are in the area to help the little ones survive.

There are three pods of Southern resident orcas off Vancouver Island. This new baby is in L pod. When the baby was born in February, the other two pods came to welcome her.

It’s the same thing that happened last fall when an orca from J pod had a new baby boy. The whales from the J, K, and L pods came together for a big celebration.


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