The killer whales seen in the Comox area over the weekend have been identified, and one of them is showing some encouraging signs.
“The J pod orcas were the five J17s with L87, who had left L pod some time ago and now stays with the J pod,” said Peter Hamilton, of Lifeforce Ocean Friends. “J17 is one of the two reported orcas (K25 the other) who had been reported losing a lot of weight and who could die. However, she appears to be doing well with her family.”
The Js were spotted around Mitlenatch Island, north of Comox and south of Campbell River.
When J17 was spotted Dec. 31 in the Haro Strait she was reported as “near the pod, but not socializing with the group,” by the Center for Whale Research, out of Washington.
At that time, J17 was reported as showing “true peanuthead” – a sign of malnutrition in orcas.
Hamilton said J17 was still showing signs of peanuthead when spotted over the weekend, but he was cautiously optimistic with what he saw, saying J17 was “actively foraging.”
L87 was seen later on, travelling alone, between Comox and Campbell River.
There was also at least one pod of transient orcas seen over the weekend. The pod seen near the Comox Harbour was a pod of transients. A group of transients (pictured) was also seen Sunday near Kitty Coleman, just north of Comox. And a small group was seen again near the harbour Sunday.
At this time it is unclear how many different pods of transients were visiting, or if it was the same pod of six or seven, spotted in different areas, at different times.