Photographer Clint Rivers recently spotted what may be the happiest little baby orca in all the ocean. The Victoria, British Columbia-based wildlife photographer was on a boat in the Salish Sea when they came across a pod of killer whales and a 6-month-old orca leaping over and over out of the water.
The young calf was born back in January and has been named J50 by the Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA).
“I’ve never seen a baby whale breach like J50’s been doing,” PWWA director Michael Harris tells Global News. “Her energy is astounding – I guess not unlike my small kids. She’s constantly leaping into the air, and often curling up and doing belly flops.”
“Of course we never know exactly why orcas breach, but when you see a young one do what J50’s been doing, over and over again, and being so playful and affectionate as she is with her family members, you sorta lose that cold scientific analysis and just conclude she’s leaping for joy. It’s definitely a joy to watch.”
“I had a memorable time watching one of the four orca calves, J50, on July 4 in waters between San Juan Island and Vancouver Island,” Rivers tells PetaPixel. “J50 stole the show, and hearts, with more than 60 breaches as she and her family moved south in Haro Strait.”
“It’s like she just figured out how this breaching thing works and couldn’t stop.”
The photo at the top is available for purchase through Rivers’ website, and part of the proceeds will be donated to The Center for Whale Research.
Image credits: Photographs by Clint Rivers and used with permission