September 23, 2021
It’s positive news for sure.Researcher John Durban, who discovered that three of the 73 remaining southern resident killer whales (orcas) are pregnant.
- A typical killer whale pregnancy can last on average 17 months.
- These endangered whales are typically pregnant only once every 3 to 10 years, and have a high rate of miscarriage and/or infant mortality.
- The southern resident killer whale population is at its lowest point since the 1970s: “Southern resident killer whales, one of several orca populations that live along the West Coast of the United States and Canada and the only one that is designated as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, spend much of their time in those waters.” (The Washington Post)
- Why It Matters: “Killer whales reproduce very slowly, so it’s hard to recover the population. Deaths are outpacing births.” (Durban – who carefully monitors these whales along with his wife and research partner, Holly Fearnbach.)
by Jenna Lee,