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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gabrielle Clarke is an art therapist in Golden who works in mixed media art. Clarke’s art will be on display downtown at the Go-Lab. (Gabrielle Clarke photo)
Mixed media arts show comes to Go-Lab

Clarke’s art will be on display until Nov. 6

The view from Donald Bridge, looking east on Highway 1, about 28 km north of Golden at 11:50 a.m. Oct. 18. (DriveBC)
UPDATE: Expect delays on highway east of Revelstoke

A vehicle incident occurred near the Quartz Creek bridge

Advance voting is already underway in the 42nd general election in British Columbia. Election day is Oct. 24.(Black Press files photo)
QUIZ: Are you ready for the B.C. election?

Take this short test and see how much you know about elections and voting

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons.
MP Morrison responds to federal throne speech, pushes for rapid testing at airports

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian criticizes throne speech, wants COIVD-19 testing at borders, airports

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. British Columbia is introducing a new saline gargle test for students from kindergarten to Grade 12 to help make it easier for children and teenagers to check whether they have COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. sees record-breaking daily COVID infections with 499 new cases over weekend

Two people, both in the Lower Mainland, died due to the virus over the weekend

Vernon Fire Rescue Services and Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP were called to a report of an electrical fire at the emergency response centre operated by Turning Points Collaborative Society on 37th Street Sunday, Oct. 18, just before 5:30 p.m. The fire displaced shelter residents who have been set up with services at the Vernon Recreation Complex. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon shelter residents find refuge in hotels, motels, recreation complex after fire

Electrical fire at Turning Points Collaborative Society’s emergency response centre on 37th Street

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna man charged after allegedly stealing senior’s car

Elderly woman’s car was stolen while she was shopping

Salmon Arm RCMP say residents have been receiving calls from fraudster claiming to be with Publishers Clearing House. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP warn of Publishers Clearing House telephone scam

Police say scammer requests fee to claim sweepstakes prizes

Osoyoos Fire Department responded to reports of a vehicle engulfed in flames Sunday (Oct. 18) evening at a Lambert Court residence. (Osoyoos Fire Department)
Osoyoos Fire Department knock down car fire near home

Blaze was ‘really close’ to becoming a structure fire

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Colin James put on a great show at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds as part of the 2019 Vancouver Island MusicFest. But his Okanagan tour for 2020 has been postponed until 2021. (Photo by Terry Farrell)
COVID-19 cancels more Okanagan concerts

The Contenders and Colin James postponed until 2021

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Most Read