Monday, April 02, 2007

What's black and white and brings hope of ocean renewal?

The new baby orca in Puget Sound’s L-pod spouts hope and optimism of renewal in a troubled sea.

The endangered orcas (killer whales) of Puget Sound have it rough. They have scary levels of toxic chemicals in their bodies, reduced food supplies thanks to our overfishing, and a nearly endless list of other major and minor complaints. But today, with a new birth, we can dream of a better future.

The first sighting of the new baby orca was near Monterey, CA, with the L-pod vacating Puget Sound to forage in greener pastures elsewhere. The orcas are known as Puget Sound orcas because they spend 6 months or more in Seattle's inland sea.

Baby orcas have such a tough time that the only name for the new one is L-109. It will get a more frinedly name if it survives beyond 1 year.

Scientists are trying to identify the mother, since firstborns tend to get most of the toxins from their mother's body and have only a 50-50 chance of survival. There have been 5 deaths in the L-pod this year, including two young calves.

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