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Orca News – K12 Baby Bump?

July 31, 2015

An educated rumor has began circulating regarding the K12 Matriline of the Southern Resident Killer Whales.  K12, commonly know as Sequim, is rumored to be pregnant! A few days ago members of the Pacific Whale Watching Association and The Center for Whale Research noticed a little “Baby Bump” on the 43 year old matriarch.  Within the last year, all presumed pregnancies starting with a baby-bump, have been proven to be true.

Sequim was born in 1972 and named after a Makah native village located on the Olympic Peninsula.  She has 3 surviving ‘children’ out of 6 births in total: two girls, K22- Sekui (27 yrs), K43- Saturna (5 yrs), and one boy, K37- Rainshadow (11 yrs), who is just starting to sprout his dorsal fin as he comes into adult-hood! Her Grandson K33, or Tika (14 yrs), makes up the 5th whale of this sub-group known as the K12 matriline.  K pod has not had a successful birth in four years, and being the smallest of the three Southern Resident Pods, a birth would be wonderful news for the entire population!

J16, commonly know as Slick, gave birth to J50 this past December, making her the oldest Southern Resident Orca in history to give birth.  Now with the presumed pregnancy for Sequim, this could be two older matriarchs to give birth in one year. The older the whale is and the more calves she has birthed, the better the odds are for the young calves to survive.  Sequim is one of the only Orcas of the Southern Resident population to have more than 5 calves. Having so much experience as a mother and grand mother is promising news for  the survival of her potential calf.

With the official Orca Census out this month declaring all 81 whales of the Southern Resident Killer Whale Community alive and well, including the youngest four new calves, this would be another win for the community!  As this is only a rumor at this stage, we are all keeping our eyes out on the water and hoping for a healthy term for K12.  During this supposed “Baby Boom” of Orcas, this would be another positive step in the direction of recovery for the endangered species.

Photo C/O Orca Spirit Naturalist, Alex Forman.  J16, Slick and daughter J50.

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