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A new baby has been born to the southern resident killer whales, pictured here near Pender Island, BC. Chris Cheadle / All Canada Photos / Getty Images

Is there hope for the critically endangered orcas that travel the waters between Seattle and BC, Canada? The southern resident killer whales have added a new member to their shrinking numbers: a baby that Center for Whale Research (CWR) Founding Director Ken Balcomb has named Lucky.

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Southern Resident killer whale mother and her calf swimming. NOAA

With only 74 left in the wild, the Southern Resident orca population in Puget Sound needs help now more than ever. That's why on Thursday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's office announced "an unprecedented investment" to help boost the population as well as the Chinook salmon they eat.

"We are undertaking a herculean effort to save these iconic creatures. It will take action at every level of the environment across our entire state," Inslee said in a news release. "We need to restore the ecosystem to one that sustains orcas, salmon and the quality of life for all Washingtonians."

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Masha Netrebenko / Facebook

Ninety belugas and 11 orcas are being held in tiny enclosures described by media reports as "whale jails" off Russia's Pacific east coast.

An investigation has been launched at the site near city of Nakhodka, where some of the whales have been contained since July, CBS News reported.

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Southern resident killer whales suffered a significant population decline in the late 1990s and are now listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. NOAA

With only 74 remaining in the wild, time is running out to save southern resident killer whales, especially after two died this summer.

This week, the Canadian government announced a slew of measures to save the critically endangered species. The $61.5 million (US$50 million) initiative will address three key threats to the orcas: a lack of chinook salmon, the whales' favored prey; contaminants in the water; and vessel traffic and noise that interferes with their hunting abilities, according to a news release from the Fisheries and Oceans department.

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Killer whales leap out of the water near Alaska. Robert Pittman / NOAA

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were banned in the U.S. in 1978, but their persistence in the world's oceans is still posing a major threat to killer whales.

A study published in Science Friday found that current concentrations of PCBs could lead to the disappearance of half of the world's killer whale, or orca, populations over the next 30 to 50 years, according to an Aarhus University press release published by ScienceDaily.

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The ailing orca whale J50 was declared "missing and now presumed dead" by the Center for Whale Research Thursday, after a three-day search by the organization in the waters between Washington state and Canada failed to locate her.

She would be the third Southern Resident killer whale to die since June, bringing their numbers down to 74.

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Tahlequah or J35, has carried her dead calf for 17 days as of Thursday. Center for Whale Research

Tahlequah—a southern resident killer whale whose heartbreaking story has captured attention around the world—has been carrying her dead calf for more than two weeks now.

Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research told The Seattle Times that the mother orca has pushed the carcass for a 17th straight day for more than 1,000 miles as of Thursday.

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An endangered southern resident killer whale known as Tahlequah or J35, has carried her dead calf for an eighth day in a row as of Tuesday. Center for Whale Research

She hasn't let go. An endangered southern resident killer whale known as Tahlequah or J35, has carried her dead calf for an eighth day in a row as of Tuesday, the Seattle Times reported.

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SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. Kim / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

British travel giant Thomas Cook announced over the weekend it will stop offering tickets to animal attractions that keep killer whales in captivity.

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Following the suspected death of an orca whale nicknamed Crewser, the population of southern resident orca whales is the lowest it has been in 34 years, The Seattle Times reported Saturday.

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Southern resident killer whales, like this one off San Juan Island, Washington, have suffered a significant population decline in the late 1990s and are now listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. NOAA

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed an executive order this week to aid the recovery of critically endangered southern resident killer whales and the Chinook salmon they eat.

There are only 76 orcas left in Puget Sound, down from 98 in 1995. Their numbers have dipped due to pollution, underwater noise and disturbances from boat traffic, and lack of their favored prey. Recent deaths, particularly among calves, mothers and pregnant whales, appear to be driven by food scarcity.

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