J-18, the 2nd last sexually-mature bull orca of the southern resident community's J-Pod was found dead this weekend by a BC Ferry traveling between Sidney, Vancouver Island and Tsawwassen on the lower mainland.
The 23-year old male, nicknamed 'Everett', was discovered on Saturday morning, and immediate assessments indicate that the young male had a large absess on the right side of its body, but no other visible indications of why J-18 died were evident.
Although a full necropsy has not yet been performed, it was noted that J-18 contained levels of PCBs (poly-chlorinated biphenyls) approximately 90 times that acceptable in humans. The high concentration of PCBs in J-clan orcas has recently caused much concern and speculation among researchers of this populations long-term survival and viability in the region.
The death of J-18 is of particular distress to our directors, two of whom worked extensively last summer with him and J-1 on a filming project in the San Juan Islands with the "Wild Things" syndicated TV production team. "Having Everett swimming around my sea kayak -- apparently in good health -- and then finding out he died 6-months later of a likely immune system deficiency-related ailment, really emphasises the problem in our ecosystem," says Michael Kundu, Director of Project SeaWolf. "We need to act now to save this population from complete extirpation!"
More information on J-18's death will be posted when the results of the necropsy becomes available.
Back to SeaWolf