Endangered Puget Sound orca found dead off Canadian coast

New calf reportedly born in endangered orca pod
File photo

The Center for Whale Research says an orca found dead off the coast of British Columbia belongs to the endangered population of killer whales that spend time in Washington state waters.

The center’s scientist Ken Balcomb said Thursday that he and others have confirmed based on photographs and unique markings on the whale that is was an 18-year-old male called J-34.

The whale was seen floating near the shore Tuesday near Sechelt, about 40 miles northwest of Vancouver.

The orca was towed to a beach and Canadian officials performed a necropsy on the animal on Wednesday.

Balcomb said in a statement that at least four members of the J pod, one of three families of southern resident killer whales, have died this year.

The population is now at 79 animals.