SEATTLE -- After an unprecedented absence, multiple sources confirmed to Q13 News that the endangered southern resident orcas are back in inland waters.
They were spotted Friday morning on the west side of San Juan Island. Researchers are out on the water, and say members of three orca pods are present. They've also spotted the new calf born in J-Pod, which was first spotted in Canadian waters at the end of May.
Southern resident orcas typically inhabit the waters of the state of Washington and British Columbia during spring and summer, but experts say the orcas hadn't been seen in the Salish Sea for two months prior to Friday.
It's suspected J-, K- and L-Pods were in the outer coast searching for a reliable source of food. Experts say this new behavior is symptomatic of a drastic change in their habitat.