One of the endangered Southern Resident orcas is missing and likely deceased, according to the Center for Whale Research.
The center’s crews have seen L47’s mariline six times in September and spotted all of her offspring and grand offspring, but she was missing from the group.
The center last spotted L47, also known as Marina, on Feb. 27 in Swanson Channel. At that time, she did not appear to be in poor condition, according to a press release. Since then, she was missed in surveys from other organizations, including Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Her repeated absence means the center is declaring her missing and likely deceased, according to the press release.
L47 was 47 years old, according to the Orca Network. She becomes the 81st Southern Resident on the network’s list of missing or deceased orcas since 1998. Southern Residents have been documented to have lived as long as 105 years.
The endangered Southern Resident orcas live in three pods, known as J, K and L. Without L47, there are now 73 Southern Residents that spend much of their time in the waters of Canada and Washington. Other transient orcas occasionally visit this area but are not considered endangered.
Three female orcas in J pod were observed to be in the late stages of pregnancy by the rehabilitation group SR3, The Whale Museum announced earlier this month.