New orca calf reported in southern resident J pod

orca whale
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A new calf has been born to J pod, Canadian whale-watch companies were reporting Friday.

The mother appears to be J41, nicknamed Eclipse. This would be her second calf. J51 would be the new calf's older sister.

Reports of the new calf excited orca advocates on both sides of the border. The new calf is still so young its fetal folds are showing, and what will become white patches are still the orange color the new babies sport.

Photos of the calf were published on a whale-watch company's blog.

The Center for Whale Research, the keeper of whale demographics for the southern residents, and has not yet confirmed the report.

This would be the second calf born to the endangered southern residents since January, good news for a population that with the new calf would number 76 .

"A ray of hope," said Donna Sandstrom in an email. Sandstrom is a member of the Governor's Task Force on Whale Recovery and founder and executive director of the Whale Trail, which features land-based whale watching.

The last new calf, L124, was born to southern orca whale L77 and is still alive. The gender of that is not yet known.

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