Killer Whale

NOAA Fisheries

Whale researchers who track the small endangered population of Puget Sound orcas say three whales are believed dead or missing since this summer. The Center for Whale Research says, as of Friday, there are only 80 animals. Two females and a 10-month old calf are believed gone.

Killer whale biologists used a hexacopter drone last month to capture stunning, overhead photos of every single member of the endangered Puget Sound orca population.

Graeme Ellis / Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

The fairy tale ending for a young orphan killer whale keeps getting better. Canadian marine biologists spotted "Springer" the whale with her first calf off the coast of central British Columbia last week. This comes 11 years after Springer was rescued from the ferry lanes near Seattle and successfully reunited with her whale family at the north end of Vancouver Island. Helena Symonds of OrcaLab was one of the whale activists who urged fisheries managers in both countries to intervene at the time.

Photo by Erik Stockdale / Wikimedia Commons

The waters of Puget Sound are a pretty noisy place, if you’re an orca. But what does a passing tanker ship or motorboat sound like to a killer whale? How does it affect their behavior? Ashley Ahearn reports researchers are trying to find out.

Photo by Wikimedia User Pittman / Wikimedia Commons

LONG BEACH, Wash. -- The bruised and bloody carcass of an endangered killer whale washed ashore at Long Beach, Washington this weekend. An initial necropsy did not pinpoint a cause of death. Correspondent Tom Banse has more on an emerging whodunit.