First humpback whale calf of season spotted near Victoria

The first humpback calf of the season has been spotted in the Salish Sea.

The Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA) says the around three-and-a-half-month-old whale and its mother, known as BCX1460 or Black Pearl, were seen in the Haro Strait on April 18 and have been spotted several times since.

“It’s always fun to see which mom and calf will make it back first,” said PWWA executive director Erin Gless. “Black Pearl tends to spend her summers near north Vancouver Island. This year we were lucky enough to spot her in the Salish Sea.”

This is Black Pearl’s fourth calf, according to the PWWA. Her previous, a male nicknamed Kraken, was born in 2022.

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The calves are born near Hawaii, Mexico, and Central America and then must travel thousands of miles with their mothers to cooler feeding grounds such as the waters off the coast of B.C., the organization says. Black Pearl is known to migrate to Hawaii.

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Another whale known as Big Mama has also been spotted in local waters. She has given birth to seven calves over the years that have gone on to give her at least six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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Humpback whales around B.C. have seen a remarkable comeback after being hunted to the brink of extinction.

B.C. whales and their uniquely positive impact on the effects of climate change were also recently the stars of an episode of Planet Earth III.

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