Since then, the family has struggled to rebuild its population, and has been further hindered by a host of human threats including pollution, vessel noise and reduced food availability.
For several years, researchers feared that the southern residents were on their way out; there were no surviving calves from the 2013 or 2014 breeding seasons. But little J55 is the latest in a spurt of births over the past year, bringing the total population up to 85.
Hopefully the little calf is a sign of things to come for the endangered family.
For an up-close look at the southern residents - including some very happy whale jumps - click here and here.