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

Development permit issued for four-storey apartment on Dogwood Street

Proposed 63-unit building will include water conservation measures

Mark Chandler running for City of Parksville councillor

Chandler will focus on affordable housing, fiscal responsibility, economic growth and crime

New data gives insight into Parksville Qualicum Beach-area homeless community

42 without homes agree to take survey on gender, age, health, length of time in community

Parksville singer to celebrate birthday with concert

Robbie Van looking to raise money for Haven Society

Mt. Washington season passholders to be the first to receive the new tech in-hand

The new hands-free tech will be in full effect for winter 2018-19

VIDEO: Tour de Rock rider says event provides badly needed support

Cancer survivor and volunteer firefighter Nicole Emery speaks about importance of fundraising tour

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Island man calls 911 after being robbed of his drugs

Nineteen-year-old and 15-year-old suspects face multiple charges following robbery Monday in Nanaimo

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

Most Read