LOST WHALE CALF L-98 FROM SOUTHERN RESIDENT PODS FOUND ALIVE, February 10, 2002

SeaWolf has just learned from local sources that one of the 7 missing L-pod orcas from last summer, feared dead by local whale advocates, has been found alive and feeding off Vancouver Island.

L-98, born in 1999, is alive and apparently feeding adequately in a remote inlet on the west side of vancouver Island. The recent announcement was made by Graeme Ellis and John Ford, who apparently knew for some time that this lone 3-year old was living in this inlet, but kept it quiet for concern about the orca's winter feeding and survivabilty prospects!

This is amazing news -- particularly since it seems to suggest a three-year old whale can survive on it's own for some time. This may suggest that the lone orca calf currently being seen off Vashon Island may also possibly be able to survive the winter if it isn't joined by others of its kind.

The biggest issue at hand is that this throws a new angle on our ability to predict survivability of the southern residents, even when they do not return to the inner Puget Sound in the summer. This may also impact present population trends here in the region. Nevertheless, the news is absolutely wonderful to regional whale advocates!

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