Federal researchers say a satellite-linked tag offered new details on the movements of an endangered orca whale before it stopped transmitting data earlier this week. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data shows the orca, known as L87, spent the past several weeks cruising throughout the Salish Sea and out to the Washington coast.
During the 30 days it was tracked, the orca circled Vashon Island, passed the east side of Whidbey Island, came close to the Victoria waterfront and traveled the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The whale, which is traveling with the J pod group of orcas, made it as far south as Cape Alava. Researchers believe the satellite tag detached from the orca. They're trying to better understand the winter movements of southern resident killer whales.