April 21st, 2024

Stranded orca dies, now there’s an effort to save calf, B.C. marine group

By The Canadian Press on March 24, 2024.

Two Bigg's killer whales swim toward a Pacific Whale Watch Association vessel on May 4, 2022, near Whidbey Island in Washington state. A B.C. marine non-profit says a Bigg's killer whale died in shallow waters near the Vancouver Island village of Zeballos over the weekend. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Ted S. Warren

ZABALLOS, BRITISH COLUMBIA – A British Columbia marine research group says a female killer whale died Saturday after being stranded in shallow water near the Village of Zeballos on the west side of Vancouver Island.

The Marine Education & Research Society says in a social media post that the animal has been identified as a Bigg’s killer whale, given the designation of T109A3, who was born in 2009 and had a calf in 2022.

The society says there was an intense effort to save the whale, which was likely hunting when ebbing tides beached her, while her calf was spotted nearby.

The society says there was a dead seal near the stranded whale, suggesting she was hunting, but she may have also had health issues that could be revealed by a necropsy.

It says efforts are now focused on making sure the calf can leave the lagoon and possibly reunite with a family pod, as they know its mother had “often travelled with her mother and siblings.”

A Fisheries Department official said Sunday that department staff were on site, and more details of the stranding were likely to be shared Monday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mach 24, 2024

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