A birth is always cause for celebration, but one recent addition to our Tofino waters made headlines.

John Forde and Jennifer Steven of The Whale Centre were cruising along Tofino Harbour last week to take identification photos of a pod of transient orca (killer) whales when they spotted a lone female orca they did not recognize.  The next day, alerted to the presence of a small orca calf swimming alongside a lone female orca by Fortune Channel, the couple hopped in their boat with their daughters and returned to the calm inside waters of Clayoquot Sound by Meares Island.  Steven reports they were able to observe, photograph and even record the active newborn orca with a hydrophone while its mother swam in larger circles and appeared to be resting.

The calf sighting was reported to local legend Rod Palm at the Strawberry Island Marine Research Society, monitoring the movements of transient killer whales since 1991.  Although it is named T121A1 after mother T121A, transient orcas are frequently assigned nicknames by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans based on suggestions from Rod.  The Forde girls are hoping this baby will be named “Fortune”.  The last documented transient orca born in Clayoquot Sound in 2013 was nicknamed “Tree” for its birthplace near Tree Island.  The pod of transient orcas seen swimming with new mother T121A right before the birth?  They’re the “Motley Crew”.

Transient orcas travel along the Pacific coast and are known to have, at times, arrived in BC from as far away as Alaska and California, while resident orcas stay in the waters off southern BC and Washington.

2015 also appears to be a bear baby boom, according to Forde’s observations.  Three sets of cubs were witnessed on one bear watching tour!  It seems that love is in our fresh, salt air…

Here’s to T121A1, black bear cubs and to their time in the nutrient-rich landscape of Tofino and Clayoquot Sound!

 

Bulletin

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