SEATTLE — Three more Southern Resident killer whales have been determined dead by the Center for Whale Research, bringing their population down to 73.
KING-TV reports the deceased orcas are J17, K25, and L84. That’s one killer whale from each pod of the resident orcas.
J17, a 42-year-old female, was in declining health this year. She improved in April, but researchers said J17 and her daughter J53 deteriorated by May.
Drone images showed J17 showed signs of malnutrition. She was the J pod matriarch and mother of J35, who carried her dead calf for 17 days and 1,000 miles, gaining global attention.
With J17 determined dead, researchers worry for her son J44.
K25, a 28-year-old male orca, was last seen in January. His declining health was documented last fall.
Less is known about L84, a 29-year-old male, also determined dead.