These Southern Resident orcas breached off the coast of Hat Island on Sept. 21, 2019. Professional photographer Bart Rulon caught them while on a Puget Sound Express whale-watching tour from Edmonds. (Bart Rulon/ BartRulon.com)

Southern resident orca L41 considered missing and feared dead

The orca was last spotted in Aug. 2019 when photographed in western Strait of Juan de Fuca

Southern resident orca, L41, is considered missing according to a statement from the Centre for Whale Research after multiple members of the L-Pod were spotted on Friday.

“Given that he looked a little thin in our Jan. 2019 encounter, we fear he may be gone,” reads the statement.

READ ALSO: Three southern resident killer whales declared dead plunging population to 73

During the encounter, which lasted about an hour and a half, a group of about 10 whales were spotted in Haro Strait.

“The whales were a bit uncooperative at the beginning of the encounter and had lengthy long dives but got friendlier as the encounter went on.” Orca L41 was not present for the entire encounter.

The Centre for Whale Research’s last record of L41 was in Aug. 2019 when he was photographed with other Southern Residents in the western Strait of Juan de Fuca.

READ ALSO: Remains of local orca and calf reunited for exhibit at Royal BC Museum

A calf from last year, named L124, was spotted and looked good, noted the statement.

If L41 is confirmed dead that will bring the total number of southern resident killer whales to 72. The number of whales has been decreasing due to the scarcity of suitable Chinook Salmon prey.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

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Southern Resident Killer Whales

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