Many photos were taken recently of the Killer Whales spotted in Admiralty Inlet over the weekend. Almost all of J-pod were spotted, as well as L-87 who has been traveling with J-pod quite a bit the past couple years. Unfortunately the whale missing this weekend was J-1, and it's been confirmed by the Center for Whale Research founder Ken Balcomb that he has not been seen since November. For those who are new to the life cycle, family and social structure of the Southern Resident Killer Whale groups, a whale not spotted with it's pod is usually called "missing" and is presumed dead.
This is not only sad for the whale watching community, but all those who have gone whale watching in the San Juan Islands. J-1 also known as "Ruffles" was one of the largest males, seemingly larger because of his distinctive dorsal fin. He is probably one of the most photographed whales in the world, and he will be missed.
It was recently determined through some genetic work that J-1 is likely the father of many of the calves in the Southern Resident community.
While there is still a chance he has just not been spotted, it sounds like he has been labeled as "missing" by the scientific community. He was estimated to be close to 60 yrs old, which would be considered within the normal life span of a male Killer Whale.