Credit: Orca Network
– “Oldest Puget Sound Orca, ‘Granny,’ Missing and Presumed Dead”
The oldest member of the small population of endangered Puget Sound orcas has been missing for months and is now likely dead, bringing the toll of dead or missing whales to seven in 2016, researchers in Washington state reported.
The orca labeled J2 and nicknamed “Granny” had been spotted thousands of times over 40 years of orca surveys but has not been seen since October, according to the Center for Whale Research on San Juan Island, a nonprofit group that keeps the federal government’s annual census of the whales, by the by The Associated Press.
– “Brutal year sets back orca recovery”
“This time last year, everyone was celebrating what seemed like a step toward recovery for the endangered Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW), which make their home around the San Juan Islands. After a low in 2014 of just 78 individuals, the birth of eight new calves in 12 months looked like great news for this dwindling population. The last of the newborns, named J54, was first seen on December 1, 2015, and brought the population up to 85.
Not since 1977 (one year after the Orca Survey study began) had so many calves been born in a 12-month period. It was no surprise that 2015 was referred to as a “baby boom” and many were hopeful that this signaled a population on the rise.
Unfortunately, what was cause for celebration at the end of 2015 turned to cause for alarm by the fall of 2016.”
by Erin Heydenreich, Deborah Giles, and Ken Balcomb, Crosscut.
– In support of our area’s Orca’s – The Mission of Orca Network
Orca Network is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the whales of the Pacific Northwest, and the importance of providing them healthy and safe habitats.