nanwalek

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Some new pictures and updates from the North Gulf Oceanic Society.

They are currently in the Kenai Fjords catching up with the resident pods, including some pods they haven’t seen for years, such as AX27 pod. Unlike the populations of resident orcas in Washington, sometimes our researchers will not see individual pods for years on end.

AD11 Aurora had a calf in 2012, the same year her daughter AD34 Nanwalek had her first calf! Aurora is 48 years old, and her daughter frequently babysits both her calf and her mother’s calf (her little brother/sister!) The researchers jokingly wonder if having a 2 year old calf at 48 might be too much for the matriarch!

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Meet AD11 Aurora!

AD11 Aurora is the matriarch of the AD11 pod. She has 4 living offspring: AD19 Herring Pete, AD27 Angiak, AD34 Nanwalek, and AD48 (unnamed). Aurora has at least one deceased calf: AD26 was born in 1989 and passed away in 1996.

Her family is closely related to AD5 pod (though they don’t travel often together), and they are seen often in the early summer months chasing down king salmon in the Kenai Fjords. 

Perhaps the most unique thing about Aurora is that she became both a mom again AND a grandma in the same year! In 2012, she gave birth to her fifth calf, at an estimated 46 years old! Her daughter, Nanwalek, had her first calf in 2012 as well.

Aurora not only had her flippers full with her own newborn baby, she also had a new grandchild buzzing around! Quite impressive if you ask me.

All photos and their sources can be found here.