SOUTHERN RESIDENT KILLER WHALES
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As of September 2013, the SRKW population totaled 81 individuals ( J Pod = 26, K Pod = 19, L Pod = 36). The size of all three Southern Resident pods was reduced in number from 1965-75 as a result of whale captures for marine park exhibition. At least 13 whales were killed during these captures, while 45 whales were delivered to marine parks around the world. Today, only Lolita (Tokitae) remains alive in captivity at the Miami Seaquarium. Annual SRKW population updates occur on July 1 and December 31 each year.
The Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW), or Orcas, are actually a large extended family, or clan, comprised of three pods: J, K, and L pods.
Within each pod, families form into sub-pods centered around older females, usually grandmothers or great-grandmothers. Both male and female offspring remain in close association with their mothers for life.
Each Southern Resident pod uses a characteristic dialect of calls (sounds) to communicate. Certain calls are common between all three pods. The calls used by the Southern Resident community are unlike the calls used by any other community of killer whales. These calls can travel 10 miles or more under water.
The Southern Resident Killer Whales are frequently seen, from spring through fall, in the protected inshore waters of the Salish Sea. The Salish Sea includes the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Strait of Georgia, and Puget Sound, and all their connecting channels and adjoining waters, and the waters around and between the San Juan Islands in Washington State and the Gulf Islands in British Columbia.
L pod members - Lolita's family
|L25 - MOTHER OF LOLITA - OCEAN SUN
L-25 Ocean Sun (Female) Born 1928: Ocean Sun is the oldest member of L-pod and the second oldest member of the Southern Resident community. Ocean Sun is a matriarch leader in L-pod. She used to share this title with her good friend Alexis (L-12), until Alexis passed away over the winter of 2011-2012. She has no immediate family living in L-pod as one of her daughters and two grandchildren all passed away in the 1980s. She is the mother of Lolita, the only surviving member of the Southern Resident Community in captivity. There are many efforts to return Lolita to her mother and the rest of her family after 42 years of confinement in the Florida Seaquarium. She can be found spending time with Mega (L-41), Matia (L-77) and Calypso (L-94), all grandchildren of Alexis (L-12). Ocean Sun has a very large and dark opening in her saddlepatch.
|L41 - MEGA
|L47 - MARINA
|L53 - LULU
|L54 - INO
|L55 - NUGGET
|L72-RACER AND HER SON FLUKE
| L84 - NYSSA
|L86 - SUPRISE
|L87 - ONYX
|L103 LAPIS WITH MUM NUGGET
L-108 Coho (Male) Born 2006: Coho is a member of a happy little family consisting of his mom Ino (L-54), his brother Indigo (L-100), and a new brother or sister, L-117, who was born in December 2010. Coho is always seen close to his new sibling and other family members. He was named after the Coho salmon, a Pacific species of salmon that resident orca eat, though it is not their favorite. Coho has a very light grey saddlepatch compared to other whales.
L120 - new calf. The details of which and the details of Lulu and Indigo missing can be seen here.
|J8 - SPIEDEN
|J17 PRINCESS ANGELINE
|J34 DOUBLE STUF
|J41 - ECLIPSE
|J 49 TILEM INGLES
|K27 DEADHEAD WITH BABY K44
Since 1998, 56 orcas have gone missing or have died
- L2 (Grace) Female, born est. 1960; missing Fall, 2012
- L26 (Baba) Female, born est. 1956; missing Spring, 2013