Friday, April 12, 2013

4-12-13 Whale Trivia and the Word 'Uncle'

This is a re-post from January 2010...with changes that have occurred since then...J-44 was about a year old when I first wrote this.

...he was first seen February 2009, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca...
I remember seeing one of the first images of J-44 (Center for Whale Research photo) and this calf's very unique eye patch...a friend commented that it looked like a sperm is an image I took while out with Capt. Jim in November the distance was J-44 and mom...look at the lower front of his eye patch, it does resemble the mouth of a sperm whale...

J-44 didn't get the fan-fare that J-45, J-46 or even J-47 did...yet he too carries distinctions with him...

here are some... 
Whale Trivia Relating to J-44
J-44 is 11 years younger than his closest sibling Tahlequah J-35. As far as I can tell by looking at the Center for Whale Research Official Orca Survey, since the studies began there is only one other sibling pair in the SRKW community who surpasses that time frame. That would be Nugget L-55 and her younger sister Surprise! L-86. They were born 14 years apart. Lobo K-26 and Yoda K-36 are close at 10 years apart and Racer L-72 and Nigel L-95 are also 10 years apart.

J-44 became an uncle at the age of 9 months (J-46 was born to his sister Polaris J-28 in November 2009) and again at the age of about 11 months (J-47 was born to his sister Tahlequah J-35 at the beginning of January 2010).

J-44 is only the 2nd 'uncle' born in J Pod since the studies began in 1976. And the distinction goes to a whale that wasn't even a year old!
The other uncle was Everett J-18 who was born in 1977 and who died in 2000. He was uncle to Rhapsody J-32 who was born in 1996. There is a 32 year span between the two uncles (Everett - born 1977 and Moby J-44 - born 2009). 

How many years until the next J Pod 'uncle' possibility?
When I wrote this in 2010 - Riptide J-30, Mike J-26 and Keet J-33 were possibilities.  Keet died in the summer of 2010 and Riptide in the winter 2011.
And now in 2013 only Mike is the next possible uncle.
If Riptide J-30 had lived, he would have been uncle to baby J-49, Hy'Shqa's first offspring who was born in August 2012.
The word UNCLE really does carry a very big distinction. 

Now expanding it beyond J-44's family group:
With the birth of J-46 and J-47 this subgroup of the J17s are now comprised of three living generations - the ONLY subgroup in J Pod with that distinction. - Not any longer - Since Hy'Shqa J-37 had her first offspring J-49 in summer 2012, Samish's family, the J14s, now has three living generations.

How many years until the next possible 3 generation family in J Pod? 
The following are the only females currently in J Pod who could make that happen (and mom would still need to be living):
-as of April 2013:
Alki J-36 is 13 years old.
Suttles J-40 is currently 8 years old.
Eclipse J-41 is almost 7 1/2 years old.
Echo J-42 is almost 6 years old.
With an average age for first time birth being 14 years...Alki may be next to join the 3 generation distinction list.

...note:  there are a couple uncles in K pod and in L pod, and K pod and L pod each have two living, three-generation families.  The chances for additional three generation families in K pod and/or L pod are less than J pod's because can fill in the blank.

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