SEATTLE – Federal scientists using a drone have captured photographs of a baby Puget Sound orca swimming alongside its mother in the waters of British Columbia.
The new calf is the fifth baby since December to be born to the endangered population of killer whales that spend time in Washington state waters.
Scientists with the NOAA Fisheries Southwest Fisheries Science Center and the Vancouver Aquarium in British Columbia captured photographs of the pair using a remote-controlled hexacopter hovering more than 100 feet above the whales.
The calf, designated as L122, was spotted in the waters near Sooke, British Columbia.
Researchers say they hope this year's boom of babies represents a turnaround for the population. Listed as endangered in 2005, the whales are struggling because of pollution, lack of food and other reasons.