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New calf dubbed J53 joins endangered whale population plying B.C. waters

Credit: CP

VANCOUVER — Scientists say a new calf has joined an endangered killer whale population off British Columbia's coast.

The Washington state-based Center for Whale Research says the baby dubbed J53 was spotted early Saturday in Haro Strait.

Researchers from the centre later photographed the newborn in the Strait of Juan de Fuca as it frolicked with a 38-year-old female called J17, the presumed mother.

The centre says the same whale was seen on Oct. 15 without a calf, so the baby was about 10 days old when it was first seen on the weekend.

Senior scientist Kenneth Balcomb says the orca has had three other offspring.

Two were  females — J28, born in 1993, and J35, who came along in 1998 — and J44, a son, which was born in 2009.

Balcomb, of the San Juan Islands-based centre, said there are 82 southern killer whales and scientists want to see the number rise to 120.

The Canadian Press

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