Northern resident orca Springer (A73) has had a baby. In Winter 2001/2002, female calf Springer was found swimming in the Puget Sound area, separated from her mother who was believed to have passed away. She was captured, rehabilitated and relocated back to her home waters where she was released near Johnstone Strait (Canada) in July 2002. Eleven years later, Springer is still being resighted yearly, successfully reintegrated with family members from A clan pods.
WOW! Amazing, wonderful news from up north!
Graeme Ellis and I wanted to let you know that Springer was observed last Thursday, July 4th, off the BC central coast and she was accompanied by a new calf. Brian Falconer and a UBC sea lion research team on the SV Achiever found the group of whales near the Gosling Rocks, and radioed Graeme and James Pilkington, who were nearby on the Roller Bay. They were able to meet up with the group and identify the whales present. Springer and her calf were travelling with the A35 matriline, part of her natal pod. Both mother and calf were looking good -- a photo is attached. At 13 years old, this is about the normal age for Springer to have her first calf (average for northern residents is 14 years, range 10 to 21).
This is great news for Springer given all she went through as an orphaned calf, her rescue in Seattle and her successful release back to the wild. Let's hope both she and her calf continue to thrive!
John Ford, Pacific Biological Station, DFO, Canada
Photo by Graeme Ellis, Pacific Biological Station, DFO, Canada