Sightings like this are rare. According to NOAA, about 35 percent to 45 percent of newborn orcas die before the age of 1, Live Science noted. If
Pucky J50 lives, it will be "the first successful newborn in the Puget Sound population in about two and a half years," Live Science reports. Another baby whale was spotted in September, Balcomb said, but it didn't survive.
The whale's birth is encouraging news for the pod, which lost a pregnant female earlier in December. The 19-year-old female whale named J-32 died somewhere in the Strait of Georgia before scientists hauled her ashore to perform a necropsy. Balcomb and others determined that the whale's fetus had died and a resulting bacterial infection killed the mother."The loss of J-32 was a disturbing setback," Brad Hanson, a wildlife biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), told Live Science. "We lost a lot of reproductive potential."
Balcomb said there were noticeable marks on the baby's dorsal fin and back,