Granny(estimated birth year 1911) is believed to be the oldest female in J, K, and L pods at over 105 years! She is the matriarch of the Southern Resident Community, known as J Clan. Granny is one of the whales in the "Free Willy" movies.
Slick(estimated birth year 1972) has four living offspring. Mike (J-26), Alki (J-36), Echo (J-42), and Scarlet (J-50). Scarlet, born in December 2014, is Slick's sixth offspring. Giving birth at the estimated age of 43, Slick is the oldest female in the Southern Resident Community known to have given birth. This family group is sometimes seen traveling alone.
Shachi's first offspring, J-29, lived only a few weeks. She spent much of her time babysitting young calves until July 1, 2005 when she had her second known offspring, Eclipse (J-41). Shachi became a first time grandmother in February 2015 when Eclipse had her first offspring, Nova (J-51).
Mike is the first offspring of Slick (J-16). He was named after the late Dr. Michael Bigg, a Canadian scientist who was known as the "father of killer whale research". Mike's living siblings are, Alki (J-36), Echo (J-42) and youngest sibling, Scarlet (J-50), who was born in late December 2014.
Polaris is the first offspring of Princess Angeline (J-17). She has always been a spunky whale and can often be found "in the crowd." Polaris was seen with her first offspring, Star (J-46), in November, 2009. She had her second surviving offspring, Dipper J-54, in December 2015.
Tsuchi is Blackberry's (J-27) younger sister. Her name comes from the Japanese word for "melon-headed whale," a North Pacific species of cetacean sometimes seen off the coast of Washington. Tsuchi's younger sibling is Mako (J-39). She and her two brothers are currently the only living members of their family group.
Cookie is Oreo's (J-22) youngest offspring. Cookie's older brother is DoubleStuf (J-34). Cookie is part of a very tight knit family group. Now, in his early teenage years, his dorsal fin is beginning to grow tall (called sprouting) and will continue growing until his late teens.
Mako's name derives from the Japanese "mako kujira" which means sperm whale. Mako has two siblings, Blackberry (J-27), and Tsuchi (J-31). He and Cookie (J-38) are about the same age. Cookie's dorsal fin has begun to grow tall (called sprouting). He and Cookie (J-38) are about the same age. Both of these males are in their early teenage years.
Eclipse is the second offspring of Shachi (J-19). Eclipse, first seen on July 1, 2005, was believed to have been born within the prior twenty-four hours. Almost ten years later, a new calf, Nova (J-51), was seen with Shachi and Eclipse in February 2015. This is Eclipse's first offspring.
Echo is the fourth known offspring of Slick (J-16). She is very active, often seen leaping above the surface. Echo is short for 'echolocation' which is what the whales use to navigate and forage. She became a sister to Scarlet (J-50) and an aunt to Sonic (J-52) in the same year.
Moby is the only male offspring of Princess Angeline (J-17). At the age of one he was already an uncle to his sisters' offspring Star (J-46) and Notch (J-47). When he was close to reaching age seven, another sibling, Kiki (J-53), was born. Shortly after, his oldest sister, Polaris (J-28) had another offspring, Dipper (J-54), making Moby an uncle once again.
Se-Yi'-Chn(pronounced "sea-ee-chin") is a Coast Salish/Samish word meaning "younger sibling" or the younger one in the family. He is the sixth offspring of Samish (J-14). His living siblings are Hy'Shqa (J-37) and Suttles (J-40). Se-Yi'-Chn was named in a traditional potlatch naming ceremony held by the Samish Nation on October 17, 2009.
Star is the first offspring of Polaris (J-28). She was born in 2009 to a growing family. Her uncle Moby (J-44) was born about ten months before Star. Kiki (J-53), born in October 2015, is Star's aunt, and Dipper (J-54), born in December 2015 is Star's sibling.
Notch is the first offspring of Tahlequah (J-35). At a young age he acquired a notch on his dorsal fin. Notch belongs to a family of eight. Two of them are Moby (J-44), and Star (J-46), who are not much older than Notch. Also there are two family members Kiki (J-53) and Dipper (J-54), who are about six years younger.
Scarlet is the sixth calf of Slick (J-16). She was first seen December 30, 2014. Based on the rake marks on Scarlet's body, it appears her birth may have been assisted. Scarlet is a spunky young whale who has thrived in spite of her challenging beginning.
Nova is the first offspring of Eclipse (J-41). He has the distinction of being born to the youngest known mother in this community. At the age of just a few months, he was already having 'play dates' with Notch (J-47).
Sonic is the first offspring of Alki (J-36). In early March 2015, he was welcomed into his family group, the J16s. Sonic was the third calf born to J Pod within a three-month time period. Sonic has saddle patch markings similar to his aunt, Echo (J-42).
Dipper is the best name to link this family, which includes mother Polaris (J-28), sister Star (J-46), and Dipper, born in 2015. The end of the handle of the Little Dipper is Polaris, the North Star. The Big Dipper is often used to locate the Little Dipper. It is hoped that Dipper will grow from little to big over the next many years.
Opus was seen with her first calf during the winter of 2000/2001, however the calf did not survive. In late 2002 she had her second offspring, Sonata (K-35), who can most often be seen close by his mother.
For years researchers thought Spock was male because of her tall, straight dorsal fin that is typical of males. However, in December 2004 she had her first known offspring, Comet (K-38), proving that she is indeed a female.
Because Lobo's mom, Lea (K-14), lost her first two calves, she was a bit more protective of him. Lobo has two younger siblings, Yoda (K-36) and Kelp (K-42). This family has often traveled with Granny (J-2) and her family group during the summer months.
Deadhead is one of four offspring born to Skagit (K-13). She was named to honor the passing of Jerry Garcia, the leader of the rock band "The Grateful Dead." Deadhead had her first offspring, Ripple (K-44), in July, 2011.
Tika is the first known offspring of Sekiu (K-22). The name Tika has Chinook origins meaning "swift." The distinct shape of his sprouting dorsal fin makes him stand out. He is most often seen with his mother.
Rainshadow is the fourth offspring of Sequim (K-12). He has a nephew named Tika (K-33) who is three years older. Sequim had her fifth offspring, Saturna (K-43), first seen in February 2010. Rainshadow is usually seen with his mother and sister.
Comet is the first offspring of Spock (K-20). A comet streaks through the dark night sky just like the whale, Comet, who sometimes passes by, close to shore, just below the surface. He travels close to his mother and with his family group, the K13s.
Spirit(estimated birth year 1971) is part of a small family consisting of her adult male offspring Solstice (L-89). This family most often travels with eight others referred to as the L12s. They frequently travel independently from the rest of the community.
Ino was the last surviving member of her family group. Until she had her first offspring, Indigo L-100, in 2001. Indigo was missing in early 2014 and, since these whales never leave their family, it is presumed he died. In the spring of 2006, Ino gave birth to her second calf Coho (L-108). In December 2010 she had her third offspring Keta (L-117). They are a tight independent family group. In the last few years Nyssa (L-84) and Wave Walker (L-88) have traveled with this family.
Racer was first photographed off Race Rocks, near Victoria, British Columbia. Racer has a broad dorsal fin and unusual markings on both her saddle patches. She has one living offspring, Fluke (L-105). The two are most often seen together.
Matia is eight years older than her sister Calypso (L-94). Matia's first offspring, L-114, first seen in February 2010, survived only a short time. Her second offspring, Joy (L-119), was first seen on May 29, 2012 in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Matia, her sister, and their offspring are often seen together.
The birth of Surprise! surprised researchers back in 1991 since there was a 14-year gap between Surprise! (L-86) and her older sister, Nugget (L-55). Surprise! has one living offspring Pooka (L-106). Her other offspring, Sooke (L-112), died in February 2012 and is now honored through an exhibit at The Whale Museum.
Wave Walker is the only living member of the family group the L2s. Wave Walker got his name because when researchers first saw him, he was gliding along the top of the water in his mother's slipstream.
Solstice is the third offspring of Spirit (L-22). He is most often seen traveling with his mother. When the group this family unit travels with, commonly called the L12s, are seen with J Pod, Solstice has on several occasions been seen traveling in close proximity to Granny (J-2).
Ballena means "whale" in Spanish. The killer whale is often referred to as "ballena pinta" or the painted whale. Ballena was seen traveling with Muncher (L-91) and Muncher's first offspring, L-122, who was nestled between them.
Pooka is a creature of myth. According to legend Pooka is an adroit shape changer and most commonly takes the form of a sleek black or white horse. This Pooka is a killer whale who was born to Surprise! (L-86). Pooka travels close to his mother.
Coho is the second offspring of Ino. He has one living sibling, Keta (L-117). Coho and Keta are names for some of the salmon species that the Southern Resident orcas feed on in the Pacific Northwest. He is often seen with Nyssa (L-84) or Wave Walker (L-88), two adult males who travel with this family.
Midnight is the first known offspring of Moonlight (L-83). He was first seen in midsummer in the Strait of Juan de Fuca traveling in his mother's slip stream. He is an active young male, often seen socializing with Takoda (L-109).
Cousteau, first seen in October 2009 near Port Townsend, has the distinction of being the first calf born to this subgroup in 14 years. Her mother Calypso (L-94) is named for Jacques Cousteau's research vessel The Calypso. The name Cousteau now honors famous researcher Jacques Cousteau. She is often seen being surface active with her younger sibling, Windsong (L-121), and their cousin, Joy (L-119).
Mystic is the seventh offspring of Marina (L-47). At the age of one year, he had already outlived four previous siblings. Mystic is a very active young whale. He has two siblings, Moonlight (L-83) and Muncher (L-91).
Keta is another word for Chum salmon, a fish these whales eat. He has one living sibling, Coho (L-108). Coho's name is also the name of a salmon species. He is most often seen traveling next to his mother.
Windsongis the second calf of Calypso (L-94). He was first seen on the outer coast of Washington in February 2015 by NOAA researchers. Windsong has an older sister, Cousteau (L-113), who was born in October 2009. These two siblings are often seen socializing.
Magic is a word often used to describe an orca encounter. And since all members of this family group have a name that begins with the letter M, Magic was a favorite. His mother is Muncher (L-91) and his grandmother is Marina (L-47). Magic's uncle is Mystic (L-115) and his mother is Moonlight (L-83). Moonlight has one offspring, Midnight (L-110), who was born in 2007.
Lazuli is a dark blue semi-precious stone prized for it's deep color. Lapis Lazuli is the full name for this stone that is called Lapis for short, the name of Lazuli's mother, Lapis (L-123). Lazuli was born in late December 2015 into a large family group. The matriarch of this family is Nugget (L-55).
Proceeds from orca adoptions support ongoing education, research and public outreach on behalf of the Southern Resident Community of killer whales.
Adopt one of Southern Resident Community killer whales and the proceeds will support orca education and research. There are 81 whales in these three pods (J, K and L pods) that are available for adoption through our Orca Adoption Program. Simply click a whale photo above to learn more about it and/or adopt it.
Note Adoptions are processed and mailed within 3 business days of receipt. You will be notified when your adoption is about to expire.
How Do I Choose A Whale?
Orca whales are as unique as people are.
Whether you are adopting a whale for yourself or for someone else, the best matches are based on commonalities. We've learned that the strongest bonds form between people and whales that are the same gender and in the same age range. For example, if you are adopting an orca for a child or grandchild (or parent or grandparent) start by finding whales that are the same gender and about the same age.
Yoda is popular with fans of the "Star Wars" movies.
...or find the adoption package you'd like and select a whale from the drop-down menu.
Where Does The Money Go?
Thanks for asking! Proceeds from the Orca Adoptions directly benefit our education programs and research efforts.
Our biggest effort is our Exhibit Hall which is open to the public nearly year-round. Through two floors of exhibits, visitors learn more about the Southern Resident Community of orcas, other marine mammals and the Salish Sea ecosystem. We hope that by learning about this richly diverse yet fragile ecosystem, visitors will be inspired to become better stewards.
Our education efforts include:
Presentations and guided tours for school groups and other visitors like Roads Scholar
The Seasound Remote Sensing Network, which includes the hydrophone array at the Lime Kiln Point lighthouse. This array is part of the broader OrcaSound.net network which streams live on the internet. This helps us monitor underwater noise which can affect an orca's ability to communicate and find prey.
The Whale Hotline. Since 1976, we've kept a database of orca and other marine mammal sightings in the inland waters. This helps determine use & frequency which helps identify critical habitat.
The San Juan County Marine Mammal Stranding Network. For animals that strand deceased, we often conduct necropsies. This helps us understand why the animal died and what health issues might be present in the marine ecosystem.
The Soundwatch Boater Education Program. This on-the-water program is both education & research. The research effort includes characterizing vessel trends over time in the presence of whales.