Seven killer whales disappear from B.C.’s south coast

This article has a nice synopsis of the lost animals, their ages, names, and demographic significance…
clipped from

Larry Pynn,
Vancouver Sun

Published: Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A total of seven killer whales are thought to have died since last fall, reducing the population of endangered southern residents to just 83 in three pods. That’s up from 71 in 1973, but down from 100 in 1996.

Two of the seven were old females past their average life expectancy – K7, Lummi, estimated to be 98, and L21, Ankh, age 58.

Most troubling for scientists is the loss of the remaining three, especially two breeding females – Luna’s mother, L67, known as Splash, age 33, and J11, Blossom, about 36.

Two others were newborn calves – L111 and J43 – thought to have a 50-per-cent chance of survival.

Luna’s younger brother, six-year-old L101, Aurora, is also thought to be dead.

“This is of concern,” said John Ford, a whale researcher with the federal fisheries department in Nanaimo. “Those two females were in the prime of their reproductive years. They normally have high survival.”

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