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Orcas spotted near Whidbey Island

Resident orca pods are returning to waters around Whidbey Island and the first sighting was reported late last month.

According to Orca Network, a Greenbank-based marine mammal advocacy group, member of L pod were seen in Admiralty Inlet as they headed back out west on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

Resident orca pods have spend most of the summer in San Juan Islands and are now venturing south down Admiralty Inlet chasing blackmouth and chum salmon runs into lower Puget Sound.

A large pod of orcas – likely Southern Resident orcas – were seen doing just that as of Oct. 8.

“We’ll be keeping our eyes out for the two new orca babies born this year, L119, born in May, and J49, born Aug. 6,” reported the non-profit group, in a recent news release. “J49 is the great-great grandson of 101-year old J2 (Granny).”

Since the Federal listing of the Southern Resident Orcas under the Endangered Species Act, Orca Network has been assisting NOAA Fisheries and the Center for Whale Research in conducting research to track the winter travels of the Southern Residents both in Puget Sound and along the coast.

Whale sightings can be reported through the group’s Whale Sighting Network’s toll-free number, 1-866-ORCANET, emailed to info@orcanetwork.org, or posted on the groups Facebook page: www.facebook.com/OrcaNetwork.

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