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Another orca born during boom dies, likely from malnutrition

An orca born three years ago, shown here on Sept. 15, 2017, has died, according to the Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbor, Washington.
An orca born three years ago, shown here on Sept. 15, 2017, has died, according to the Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbor, Washington. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Officials say a male orca born nearly three years ago has died, presumably from malnutrition.

The Center for Whale Research said Monday that the killer whale was born during a baby boom of southern resident orcas that began in December 2014.

The center’s founder, Kenneth Balcomb, says the dead orca is the third of six born to die.

Balcomb says the orca’s life depended on salmon that were in short supply this summer and that the orca was last seen alive near the west entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca Sept. 15.

He says photos taken at that time show the orca was lethargic.

Balcomb also says two of the mothers and a grandmother in the J pod – one of three families of southern resident killer whales – have also died, bringing the number in the pod to 76.

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