VANCOUVER – Researchers with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans are cheering after spotting all three pods that make up the endangered southern resident killer whale population.
The department said in a tweet on Friday that they’re happy to report that researchers encountered members of J, K and L pod off the west coast of Vancouver Island last week.
Three cheers! We’re happy to report that our researchers had the privilege of encountering Southern Resident killer whales from all three pods along the West Coast of Vancouver Island last week. Members of J-pod, K-pod and L-pod were present, including J31 and her new calf. pic.twitter.com/pA6N2IOPRi
— DFO Pacific (@DFO_Pacific) July 5, 2019
It said they also saw a new calf swimming with its mother, J31.
The endangered whales had disappeared for much of June from their usual summer location off the southern end of
Vancouver Island and around the U.S. San Juan Islands. The residents are listed as a species at risk in Canada with just 75 remaining.
The Canadian government has taken a series of steps to support the whales including limiting how close vessels can travel near them and cutting chinook salmon fisheries in an effort to increase the supply of the whales’ favourite food.