L68, who had the adoption name Elwha, was a young male from the L pod family. The more than 40 whales of L pod are a major part of the southern
resident orca community, whose about 90 members live in the coastal waters of Washington State.
Elwha was one of my favourite orcas. I got to know him in the year 1992 when he breached right in front of
our research vessel and showed his gender markings. By that we could identify him
as a little male. Unfortunately he wasn't able to stay with us long enough to become a mature bull.
He could have lived well into his fifties like his big cousin, J1.
His mother L27, born around 1965, is now past her reproductive age. Sadly she's lost all her four offspring. But with her vast experience she will continue contributing to the survival of the pod. If L27 remains healthy, she could live close to a hundred years like the grand old matriarchs of the community, J2 and K7.