A southern resident killer whale breeches out of the water.
A southern resident killer whale breeches out of the water. Photo credit: NOAA

For the last three years, not one calf has been born to the dwindling pods of black-and-white killer whales spouting geysers of mist off the coast in the Pacific Northwest.

Normally four or five calves would be born each year among this fairly unique urban population of whales — pods named J, K and L. But most recently, the number of orcas here has dwindled to just 75, a 30-year-low in what seems to be an inexorable, perplexing decline. The New York Times talked to Sea Doc Director Joe Gaydos about the concern that a fatal human or animal disease has, or will, cross the species barrier and find its way into these immuno-compromised killer whales. 

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