J52, first seen in March of 2015 and last seen in September of 2017. Image credit: Facebook/Center for Whale Research

Young endangered orca dies off B.C. coast

The whale was last seen alive near the west entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Sept. 15, 2017

Researchers say a young member of an endangered killer whale population living off British Columbia’s coast has died.

They say J52, a male southern resident killer whale, was last spotted near the Strait of Juan de Fuca south of Vancouver Island on Sept. 15.

The young whale, 2 1/2 years old, appeared lethargic and was barely surfacing, with photos showing signs he was malnourished.

Researchers with the centre say the Chinook salmon the orcas eat have been in short supply this year.

J52 was not spotted when his pod was observed in Puget Sound off Washington state on Sept. 19 and the centre says he presumably died of malnourishment hours after he was last seen.

The scientists say there were 78 southern resident killer whales as of last December, and the centre has warned that noise, toxic contamination, and a lack of food threaten their long-term survival.

The orcas live and travel through the Salish Sea off the coast of B.C. and Washington state, and they have been studied for more than four decades, but the group’s numbers have fallen in recent years.

The centre says six new southern resident killer whales were born in 2015 and 2016, but J52 is the third of that group to die, and none of the whales born this year have survived.

J52, first seen in March of 2015 and last seen in September of 2017. The first known calf of J36, and one of the calves born during the SRKW "baby boom" of 2015/2016. https://www.whaleresearch.com/j52

Posted by Center for Whale Research on Monday, September 25, 2017

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Ferry connecting Port Hardy and Bella Coola expected to set sail this summer

Its first in-service route will sail in central coast waters on May 18, 2019.

BC Parks Student Ranger Program accepting applications for 2019 season

12 crews of four student rangers will work in regions throughout the province including Bella Coola.

Over $650,00 given to rural communities thanks to Rural Dividends

Five communities, including Williams Lake, are receiving $10,000 for project grants

Pregnant Cariboo firefighter tries to save own house from blaze

Julia Flinton and Anthony Sellars both worked on the 2017 wildfires

Road report for Highway 20

Fog patches and slippery sections; Drive BC

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

UPDATE: Injured firefighter in stable condition

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

RECALL: Salmon Village maple salmon nuggets

Customers warned not to eat product due to possible Listeria contamination

More than 100,000 toxic toys named in Canada-wide recall

Plastic doll contains levels of phthalates over allowable limit and may pose chemical hazard

Most Read