80-year-old orca missing, presumed dead

SEATTLE — Orca spotters say one of the older killer whales that frequent the Puget Sound has been missing for about six weeks and they presume Orca J8, also known as “Speiden,” is dead.

The Orca Network told KOMO-TV the female orca was last seen Sept. 19 near Victoria and has not been seen the past two times her J Pod was in the Puget Sound’s Saratoga Passage.

Howard Garrett, co-director of the network, says Orca J8 was about 80 years old, which is near the upper limit for female orca longevity. Garrett speculates her disappearance was likely natural.

The Orca Network says J8 is not the oldest orca in her pod. Orca J2, known as “Granny,” is believed to be 102 years old.

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