A third newborn orca has been spotted off the West Coast, which is encouraging news for the endangered southern resident killer whales.
The calf was observed with the L-pod near Westport off the coast of Washington state on Wednesday, said biologist Brad Hanson of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The calf — with its "unique orangish color on the white areas" — looked very energetic, he added.
There are now 80 southern resident orcas in the waters of B.C. and Washington state.
"Despite this piece of very good news, conservation threats to southern resident killer whales have not disappeared," said Dr. Peter Ross, director of the Vancouver Aquarium’s ocean pollution research program. "It will take steady and patient work to mitigate and adopt best practices to address prey availability, noise or disturbance and pollution."
The southern residents spend most of the summer in the waters around southern Vancouver Island and northern Washington. They're listed as endangered in both Canada and the United States.
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