For a brief moment last week, just off the coast of southwestern Canada, the typically grim outlook confronting orcas took on a hopeful hue. A whale watch operator, staring through binoculars, had caught sight of a healthy calf swimming beside its mother — a rare beacon for a population that had not seen a healthy infant in years.
It was not to last, however. By the time experts with the Center for Whale Research arrived, just half an hour later, the calf had already died.
But that's not the end of this story.