The Centre for Whale Research has determined that orca J2, who was last seen in October, is presumed dead. “Granny” was the matriarch of J pod. This is the 7th death of a Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) in 2016. Their population is now only 78 for all three family pods (J, K, and L).
At least Granny enjoyed a good life of freedom in the wild. She was born in approximately 1910. During the Lifeforce research and boater education programs I always kept an eye on her and her son, Ruffles (who was born in approximately 1950 and died in 2011), to see when they would change directions. They were always the first to head back down from the Fraser River areas in BC to the San Juan Islands in WA. The rest would follow them. I wonder who will be the new leader(s).
And as old as she was she had the most recognized tail fluke slap that reached an approximate 80 degree angle where the norm is about 25 degrees. When she got mad at boaters getting too close she really got mad.
The Vancouver Aquarium started the orca slave trade that led to the capture of at least 68 West Coast orcas whose populations are now facing extinction. The Aquarium Industry captured a generation of young males and females causing an abnormal age and sex ration that would take decades to return to normal if they can survive. That was and continues to be a major death blow in addition to the present threats from pollution, lack of food, and boat traffic.