11/01/2013: ""Speiden" Presumed Dead"
Orca Network has reported that orca J-8, named “Speiden” is now presumed dead. J-8 was last seen on September 19th, and given her absence from J-pond and her age (estimated to have been born around 1911), there is really no other logical conclusion to draw.
With the lost of J-8, the further decline of the orca population continues, and is now estimated by The Center for Whale Research to be at 80.
The Island Guardian recently published a report by Orca Relief Citizens’ Alliance titled "Orca Male Population In Decline", which included a reference to at Q13 Fox news story that in 2013 the orca count for Southern Resident whales was at 82, and now we know it has dropped even more.
Why of course is the big question, the answer to which is likely to be the result of multiple negative impacts ranging from pollution to boat noise , to lack of acceptable food.
One problem indentified by Orca Relief and NOAA Fisheries is the “limited number of reproductive-age Southern Resident males, and several females of reproductive age are not having calves.”
NOAA acknowledges that the “factors causing the decline of Southern Residents are not well known, and are likely to continue until we learn more about what needs to be done to reverse this trend. Some of the possible causes of decline are: reduced quantity and quality of prey; persistent pollutants that could cause immune or reproductive system dysfunction; oil spills; and noise and disturbance from vessels.