One of the West Coast’s most famous killer whales has given birth to her first calf, about 11 years after she was rescued from U.S. waters and reunited with her family off Vancouver Island.
Springer, also known as A73, was first spotted in the waters of Puget Sound, near Seattle, Wash., in January, 2002, after her mother died and she became separated from her pod.
She was captured and then transported to the waters near the northern tip of Vancouver Island where she was set free to connect with her family pod in July 2002.
Fisheries and Oceans research technician Graeme Ellis says he spotted Springer and her calf last week about 40 kilometres away from Bella Bella on British Columbia’s North Coast.
He says she and her calf were the first whales in the pod he photographed, and the calf appears healthy, active and energetic.
Fisheries and Oceans scientist John Ford says Springer is a normal, functioning member of her community and the birth of her calf shows rehabilitation efforts can be possible.