The Southern Community is comprised of a single clan, J-clan, which is made up of three pods, J1, K1 and L1. The population totaled 86 in 2004, which is 18% higher than its size of 71 when first censused in 1974. Unlike most northern community pods, all three southern resident pods were cropped during 1967-73 in a live-capture fishery for aquaria. An estimated 47 southern residents, mostly immature whales, were taken during this period, and this probably hindered growth of the population when compared to northern residents.
Luna is a member of the L1 pod, and the L2 matriline which includes his grandmother Grace (L2), his two uncles Gaia (L78) and Wavewalker (L88), his mother Splash (L67) and a new sibling, Aurora (L101). Luna has never met his brother.
Scientists believe that Luna was swimming with his Uncle, Orcan (L39) when his uncle died. The theory, although difficult to prove, is that when Orcan died, Luna could not find his way back to his pod and subsequently got lost. Luna was two when his uncle died.
The southern resident pods are seen most regularly during the summer in the protected inshore waters of the Strait of Georgia and Puget Sound, especially in the vicinity of Haro Strait, west of San Juan Island, and off the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Southern residents, especially pods K1 and L1, frequently make excursions out of Juan de Fuca Strait to areas off the west coast of Vancouver Island and Washington. In these areas, they mingle with commercial trollers on the offshore banks to catch salmon headed for the Fraser River.
In September and October, all three pods can often be found off the mouth of the Fraser River in the Strait of Georgia, intercepting salmon before they enter the river. During the winter, J1 is the most common pod sighted in inshore waters, while K1 and L1 apparently spend more time in offshore areas.
From October through June, K and L pods tend to disappear to parts unknown, while J pod often continues its activities in the inland estuaries. During winter months Salish Sea orcas are seen along the outer coasts of Washington and Vancouver Island. but recently the Orca Network Sightings Network has revealed that K and L pods are also often found in lower Puget Sound during winter.
Information contained on this page is courtesy of OrcaNetwork (www.orcanetwork.org) and Killer Whales Second Edition by John K.B. Ford, Graeme M. Ellis and Kenneth C. Balcomb