2015’s orca baby boom doesn’t seem to be slowing down – though the latest news is tinged with sadness.
Officials with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say a new calf has been spotted with J-Pod yesterday in Puget Sound.
Observers say the new baby, dubbed J55, looks to be just a couple of days old, though they don’t know who the mother is yet.
READ MORE: Orca calf found dead near Tofino from Alaska
Life and death
But they say on the same observation trip, they spotted another mature female pushing a dead calf as well.
Researchers say only about 50% of orca calves survive their first year in the wild.
Despite the death, the new birth is exciting news for whale watchers and conservation groups.
There are only 84 Southern Resident Orcas, which are the only killer whale population listed as endangered by U.S. wildlife officials.
Eight calves, making up more than 10% of that population were born in 2015, the most in any single year since 1977.