A newborn killer whale found dead early last week on a sand spit in northeastern Washington state belonged to the endangered Southern Resident population, tests show.
There was some debate as to whether the 7-foot killer whale, or orca, which was found on Dungeness Spit near Sequim, might have belonged to the much more common transient population.
But DNA sequence analysis conducted by NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center revealed that the stranded calf was a Southern Resident male.
More studies are being performed in an attempt to determine a cause of death, and to assign the calf to a matriline pod. The Southern Residents are comprised of the J, K and L pods.
An extensive stranding network is close to completing a report on the stranding last February of L112, a 3-year-old female that was discovered bloodied on a Washington state beach.
There was speculation then that the orca may have been killed during naval training exercises.
--For a more detailed report on the latest stranded killer whale visit the Orca Network Facebook page