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The Resident Whales Of K-Pod

May 7, 2012

The K-pod is part of a larger group of whales called a clan. There are three pods in the southern resident killer whale clan, J, K, and L. Here is a list of K-Pod Members (Last Updated 2012):

K-12 Sequim (Female) Born 1972: Sequim is an experienced mother with 3 living and 3 deceased offspring. Her living offspring are Sekiu (K-22), Rainshadow (K-37), and Saturna (K-43). Since Sequim has raised several calves she is a more relaxed mother, allowing her older siblings to babysit young Saturna while she chases down salmon. Sequim and Skagit (K-13) are now the eldest females in K-pod and thus are the matriarch leaders of the group.

K-13 Skagit (Female) Born 1972: Skagit is the successful and busy mother of 4 K-pod orca whales. She had her first calf Spock (K-20) in 1986, and her last calf Cali (K-34) in 2001. She also has a son named Scoter (K-25) and another daughter named Deadhead (K-27). Now that Skagit is 40 years of age, it is unlikely that she will have any more children as female orca go through menopause similar to humans in their early to mid-forties. She will continue to be a vital part of her offsprings lives, as well as an important senior member of the pod. As Skagit and pod-mate Seqium (K-12) are the oldest females of K-pod, they are the matriarch leaders, guiding all other members in daily activities.

K-14 Lea (Female) Born 1977: Lea has been a busy orca raising three calves, Lobo (K-26), Yoda (K-36), and Kelp (K-42). Her role as a mother has not come without hardship though, as Lea lost two calves before they were one year old. She is a wonderful mother who spends all of her time close to her offspring. Lea has a small nick out of the trailing edge of her dorsal fin near the top.

K-16 Opus (Female) Born 1985: Opus can be recognized by her large, solid saddlepatch. She is often seen swimming side-by-side with her son Sonata (K-35), who was born in 2002. Besides her son, the only immediate living relative she has is her sister Lea (K-14). These sisters and their offspring are close, spending a lot of time socializing, hunting and resting together. Opus lost her first calf soon after it was born in the winter of 2000-2001.

K-20 Spock (Female) Born 1986: Spock is the mother of Comet (K-38), a spunky little male orca. Because it has been 8 years since Comet was born, we hope to see Spock with another calf soon as orca have one calf every 4 to 8 years on average. Spock was the first offspring of Skagit (K-13), and she is a sister to Scoter (K-25), Cali (K-34), and Deadhead (K-27). She became an auntie for the first time in 2011 to K-44, an unnamed male calf.

K-21 Cappuccino (Male) Born 1986: Cappuccino is a very special member of Kpod, as he was the first mature male in the pod in many, many years. His best friend was his sister Raggedy (K-40), who was not often seen without Cappucino close by. Sadly, his dear sister passed away during the winter of 2011-2012. The two siblings no longer have a mother or any other living brothers or sisters. Cappuccino is very easy to identify as he was a wide-based dorsal fin and a distinct open saddlepatch. We know that he misses his sister dearly and will need to gravitate towards other members of his pod to find companionship like he had with Raggedy.

K-22 Sekiu (Female) Born 1987: Sekiu is the last K-pod whale to be born in the 1980s. She has an only son named Tika (K-33), who was born in 2001. Sekiu and Tika spend most of their time close to Sekius mother Sequim (K-12), and her other offspring Rainshadow (K-37) and Saturna (K-43). Sekiu has a thin whisp of black running through her saddlepatch.

K-25 Scoter (Male) Born 1991: Scoter is one of two males born to Skagit (K-13). He also has two sisters, Spock (K-20) and Deadhead (K-27). Scoter like all other resident orca will remain close to his mother and siblings for his entire life, but as he reaches maturity, he has been spending more time socializing with whales in his age group.

K-26 Lobo (Male) Born 1993: Lobo has recently become another adult male of K-pod. He is easy to pick out amongst the other males as his dorsal fin is very narrow compared to others. He also has a very bright white saddlepatch. Lobo was the first calf of Lea (K-14) to survive past infancy. He is the protective big brother of sisters Yoda (K-36) and Kelp (K-42). Lobo has become more independent as he has matured and can be seen socializing with Cappuccino and other whales his age.

K-27 Deadhead (Female) Born 1994: Deadhead gets her strange name from the band, The Greatful Dead, as she was bon the same year lead singer Jerry Garcia died. Deadhead had her first calf, K-44, who will be named in the summer of 2012 after surviving his first winter. Deadhead is part of a big family, her mother is Skagit (K-13) and her siblings are Scoter (K-25), Spock (K-20), and Cali (K-34).

K-33 Tika (Male) Born 2001: Tika is a young whale who spends much of his time with his mother Sekiu (K-22) and his grandmother Sequim (K-12). Even though Tika does not have any siblings, he loves to play with his Uncle Rainshadow (K-37), who is actually 2 years younger than Tika!

K-34 Cali (Male) Born 2001: Calis name comes from the Salish First Nation language, meaning heart. He is the youngest offspring of Skagit (K-13), and the brother of Spock (K-20), Scoter (K-25), and Deadhead (K-27). Cali has an open saddlepatch similar in looks to his sister Spocks saddlepatch.

K-35 Sonata (Male) Born 2002: Sonata is an only child, staying close to his mother Opus (K-16). Because orca are highly social animals, Sonata and his mom are often seen hanging around other matrilines within K-pod. Like his mom, Sonata has a solid saddlepatch, but his is more gray while hers is bright white.

K-36 Yoda (Female) Born 2003: Yoda is part of a medium sized family and her mother is Lea (K-14). Her two siblings are Lobo (K-26) and Kelp (K-42). Yoda is one of the more social youngsters, often seen playing with other pod-mates her age. Orca often build strong bonds with other whales besides their immediate family, especially whales from the same age group.

K-37 Rainshadow (Male) Born 2003: Rainshadow is a fantastic whale with a sweet personality. He is the son of Sequim (K-12), and he has one older sister, Sekiu (K-22) and one younger sister, Saturna (K-43). Rainshadow is very attached to his little sister, always paying attention to where she is and spending quality time with her. He has a very light S-shape within his saddlepatch.

K-38 Comet (Male) Born 2004: Comet is the first and only offspring to mother Spock (K-20). Comet enjoys playing with his Uncles Scoter (K-25) and Cali (K-34), and his auntie, Deadhead (K-27). Comet will likely be a great role model for his new cousin K-44, who was recently born in December 2011.

K-40 Raggedy (Female) Born 1963: We are sad to report that our dear Raggedy passed away in 2012. Female orcas are expected to live between 60 and 80 years, so her death came as a shock to all who have watched her over the years. It is not common for killer whale bodies to wash ashore, we only know that she is gone because she was not seen swimming with her family in the summer of 2012. Raggedy was the easiest whale to identify in K-pod. The trailing edge of her dorsal fin was jagged from top to bottom with nicks and scars, giving it a ragged appearance, thus why she was named Raggedy. Cappuccino (K-21), Raggedy’s brother, was her favourite whale to hang out with. The siblings had an especially strong bond because they had no other living immediate family. Raggedy was never seen with a calf since the Southern Resident Community has been studied, beginning in 1976. We will miss seeing her raggedy dorsal fin and sweet, caring relationship with her brother, Cappuccino. We are sure he misses her more than anybody.

K-42 Kelp (Male) Born 2008: Kelp is a very active and social little whale. He was born in a time frame when lots of other calves were also born, giving him many playmates within the population. Kelp is the son of Lea (K-14), and he has two siblings Lobo (K-26) and Yoda (K-36).

K-43 Saturna (Female) Born 2010: Saturna is the sixth offspring of Sequim (K-12), but only 2 off her siblings are still alive. She is very close to her brother Rainshadow (K-37), who is a protective big brother. Sequim trusts Rainshadow to play with Saturna while she chases salmon for the family to eat. Saturnas older sister Sekiu (K-22) is also a great babysitter, entertaining Saturna with her son Tika (K-33). Saturnas nephew is actually 9 years older than her!

K-44 Unnamed (Male) Born 2011: Because K-44 was only born in 2011, he will not be given a common name until he has survived his first winter. He is the first offspring of Deadhead (K-27), who has so far been an attentive mother. K-44 has lots of support from his grandmother Skagit (K-13), his Uncles Scoter (K-25) and Cali (K-34), and his Auntie Spock (K-20). K-44 will love to play with his cousin Comet (K-38), as they grow up side-by-side.



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