With the death of the young female orca calf known as J50 in the Pacific Northwest in September 2018, the population of southern resident killer whales has fallen to 74.
At the time, Ken Balcomb, the founder of the Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbor, Wash., said the world was “witnessing a slow motion extinction” of this population of killer whales.
These incredibly low numbers paint an alarming picture for the future of the endangered southern resident killer whales. Experts predict that two more southern resident killer whales will die by this summer due to starvation. Only 40 of the calves born to the southern resident killer whale population have survived since 1998, and 73 have gone missing or found dead. No newborn whales have survived since 2015. MORE