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Newborn whale found dead just south of B.C in Washington State

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By Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun

January 9, 2013

The discovery of a dead newborn killer whale calf has reinforced the perilous state of the marine predator in the shared Salish Sea of B.C. and Washington.

Howard Garrett, director of Washington’s Orca Network, said that a necropsy was performed on the 2.3-metre-long male calf Tuesday in Seattle by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The results were not immediately available.


    A newborn male killer whale calf was found washed up Monday on a beach at Dungeness Spit just south of the Canada-U.S. border on the Olympic Peninsula, the Washington-based Orca Network reports.

Photograph by: Kim Parsons , Orca Network

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The calf washed up Monday at Dungeness Spit just south of the Canada-U.S. border on the Olympic Peninsula and is thought to have died about two days earlier, at or shortly following birth, Garrett said.

About 40 per cent of killer whales die during their first year.

Garrett said it could take two weeks before the results of DNA tests identify whether the calf was an endangered southern resident killer whale or threatened transient whale.

“That is the crucial question,” he confirmed.

Residents are fish-eaters, targeting chi-nook salmon, whereas transients eat mammals such as seals, sea lions, dolphins and porpoises.

The death of any killer whale is a loss, but especially so for the southern residents, which total an estimated 84 animals.

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