Southern Resident Killer Whales

This fish-eating population numbers at less than 80 individuals and is listed as Endangered under both the Canadian Species at Risk Act and the United States Endangered Species Act. Southern resident killer whales generally travel in large pods of closely-related individuals within predictable ranges and feed primarily on salmonid species with a strong preference for Chinook salmon.

Southern residents spend most of the summer in the waters around southern Vancouver Island and northern Washington. Their winter range is less well known, but they have been sighted as far north as Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) and as far south as Monterey Bay, California. Learn more about the resident killer whales.

Most whales in the southern resident population are named after specific places or unique features such as Notch (J47) who has a distinctive notch in his dorsal fin. The southern resident killer whales are named by the Center for Whale Research who monitor the status and trends of the population. 

Killer whales from six matrilines in the southern resident population are available for adoption. Each whales’s scientific names, sex, and year of birth are listed below. Click on individual whales below for more detailed information.

J Pod (J Clan)

J17 Matriline

J35 Tahlequah (♀ 1998)

J44 Moby (♂ 2009)

J46 Star (♀ 2009)

J47 Notch (♂ 2010)

J53 Kiki (♀ 2015)

J4 Matriline

J19 Shachi (♀ 1979)

J27 Blackberry (♂ 1991)

J31 Tsuchi (♀ 1995)

J39 Mako (♂ 2003)

J41 Eclipse (♀ 2005)

J51 Nova (♂ 2015)

J16 Matriline

J16 Slick (♀ 1972)

J26 Mike (♂ 1991)

J36 Alki (♀ 1999)

J42 Echo (♀ 2007)

K Pod (J Clan)

K8 Matriline

K18 Matriline

K14 Lea (♀ 1977)

K26 Lobo (♂ 1993)

K36 Yoda (♀ 2003)

K42 Kelp (♂ 2008)

K21 Cappuccino (♂ 1986)

L Pod (J Clan)

L72 Matriline

L72 Racer (♀ 1986)

L105 Fluke (♂ 2004)

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Southern resident killer whales are very active at the surface. Although all killer whale populations breach, spyhop, and preform other acrobatics, the behaviour is much more common with southern residents. Spyhopping involves the whale raising it’s head vertically out of the water to above eye level in order to peer above the surface.

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Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Tahlequah (J35)

Tahlequah (J35) is a female killer whale born in 1998. Tahlequah has one living offspring, Notch (J47). She gave birth to her second calf in July 2018, which unfortunately died shortly after birth. She was observed grieving, carrying her dead calf's body around for 17 days before finally letting it go.

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Moby (J44)

Moby (J44)  is a young male killer whale born in 2009. His mother, Princess Angeline (J17) unfortunately passed away this year. He has an older sister, Tahlequah (J35), and a baby sister Kiki (J35).

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Star (J46)

Star (J46)  is a young female killer whale born in 2009. Her mother, Polaris (J28) unfortunately passed away in 2016. Star travels closely with Tahlequah (J35) along with her siblings and calf Notch (J47).

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Notch (J47)

Notch (J47) is a young male killer whale born in 2010. He was given the name "Notch" for the large nick on the trailing edge of his dorsal fin that the acquired when he was one-year-old. Notch is a very active whale, often seen spyhopping and showing off with his young family members.

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Kiki (J53)

Kiki (J53) is a young female killer whale born in 2015. Kiki has two older siblings: Tahlequah (J35) and Moby (J44). Her mother, Princess Angeline (J17), unfortunately passed away this year. Kiki has two older siblings - Sister Tahlequah (J35), and brother Moby (J44).

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Shachi (J19)

Shachi (J19) is an adult female killer whale thought to have been born in 1979. Shachi is the family matriarch and has one surviving offspring, daughter Eclipse (J41). She is now also a grandmother to Eclipse's son, Nova (J51).

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Blackberry (J27)

Blackberry (J27) is an adult male killer whale born in 1991. After his mother, Blossom (J11) died in 2008, he took over the role of caring for his younger brother Mako (J39) and the two are inseparable.

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Tsuchi (J31)

Named after the Japanese word for Baird's beaked whale 'Tsuchi Kujira', Tsuchi (J31) is a young female killer whale born in 1995. She has an older brother Blackberry (J27), and a younger brother Mako (J39).

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Mako (J39)

Mako (J39), whose name was derived from the Japanese word 'mako kujira' which means sperm whale, is a young male killer whale born in 2003. Mako has two older siblings, brother Blackberry (J27) and sister Tsuchi (J31), and youger sister Eclipse (J41).

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Eclipse (J41)

Eclipse (J41) is a female killer whale born in 2005. She is the only surviving calf of Shachi (J19). Eclipse became a mother in February 2015 with the birth of a son, Nova (J51). At only 10 years old, Eclipse was the youngest known mother in the southern resident population.

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Nova (J51)

Nova (J51), is a young male killer whale who was born in February 2015. His mother Eclipse (J41) was only 10 years old when she gave birth and was the youngest known mother in the southern resident population. Both mother and son are doing very well.

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Slick (J16)

Slick (J16) is an adult female killer whale born in 1972 and is among the oldest killer whales whose age is actually known. Slick is the family matriarch and has three surviving offspring: Mike (J26), Alki (J36), and Echo (J42). 

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Mike (J26)

Mike (J26) is an adult male killer whale who was born in 1991. He was named after the late Dr. Michael Bigg, the pioneer of killer whales research in British Columbia, who passed away in 1990. Mike's mother is Slick (J16) and he has two younger siblings: Alki (J36) and Echo (J42).

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Alki (J36)

Alki (J36) is a female killer whale born in 1999. She has an older brother, Mike (J26), and a younger sister, Echo (J42). Alki's mother is Slick (J16). Alki had her first calf Sonic (J52) in 2015 who unfortunately he passed away in 2017.

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Echo (J42)

Echo (J42) is a young female killer whale who was born in 2007. She is named after 'echolocation', which killer whales use to navigate and find food. Echo's mother is Slick (J16) and she has two older siblings: brother Mike (J26), and sister Alki (J36). 

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Lea (K14)

Lea (K14) is an adult female killer whale who was born in 1977. Lea is the family matriarch and has three offspring: son Lobo (K26), daughter Yoda (K36) and youngest son Kelp (K42). Recent genetic studies revealed that Lea's father is the well-known killer whale from J pod, Ruffles (J1).

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Lobo (K26)

Lobo (K26) is an adult male killer whale born in 1993. Lobo's mother is Lea (K14) and he has two younger siblings: sister Yoda (K36) and brother Kelp (K42).

 

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Yoda (K36)

Yoda (K36) is a  female killer whale born in 2003. Yoda is the second calf of mother Lea (K14) and has two brothers: older brother Lobo (K26) and younger brother Kelp (K42).

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Kelp (K42)

Kelp (K42) is a young male killer whale born in 2008. Kelp's mother is Lea (K14) and he has two older siblings: Lobo (K26) and Yoda (K36). Kelp is a very spunky little whale and researchers have a difficult time photographing him as he moves so quickly.

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Cappuccino (K21)

Cappuccino (K21), is an adult male killer whale with a very wide dorsal fin and distinct open saddle patch, who was born in 1986. Cappuccino travels with a K pod female, Opus (K16), and her son Sonata (K35).

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Racer (L72)

Named after Race Rocks near Victoria, Racer (L72) is an adult female killer whale born in 1986. Racer gave birth to her first calf Fluke (L105) in 2004. Racer and her son are the only two killer whales left in her immediate family, but they continue traveling and socializing with other members of L pod.

 

Southern resident population status courtesy of The Center for Whale Research, 2019

Fluke (L105)

Fluke (L105) is a young male killer whale born in 2004. Fluke is the first calf of Racer (L72). Researchers initially had a hard time determining who his mother was, which is how he got his name. Fluke and his mother are the only two killer whales left in his immediate family, but they continue traveling and socializing with other members of L pod.