Killer whale finally lets dead calf go

Killer whale finally lets dead calf go

A mother orca who was carrying the body of her dead offspring 17 days has finally let the calf go.

For 17 days, a southern resident killer whale (SRKW) named J35, but better known as Tahlequah, carried her deceased baby for more than 1,000 miles.

The whale then "vigorously chased a school of salmon with her pod-mates in Haro Strait" off Canada's Vancouver Island, the Center for Whale Research (CWR) said.

J35's calf was born near Victoria on July 24, but died moments later.

She finally abandoned the carcass as it decomposed, the AP reports.

"J35 frolicked past my window today with other J pod whales, and she looks vigorous and healthy", founding director of the Centre for Whale Research, Ken Balcomb, told The Seattle Times.

Whale J35 seen here supporting her dead calf.

The mother is now surrounded by members of her clan, known as J pod, who stay to support her through the grieving process.

Twitter throws its support behind Derrius Guice following torn ACL
He got seven carries in Washington's preseason debut after Kelley and Guice were done for the night, totaling 31 yards. Chris Thompson tweeted that he "had a tough time (trying to) hold back the tears" when he learned about the injury.

Researchers also believe that J35 has set the record for the longest period of time during which a mother orca has carried around her dead baby.

"Her tour of grief is now over and her behaviour is remarkably frisky", read an update on the research centre's website.

Researchers had anxious J35, who was last spotted with her dead calf Wednesday, was not eating properly and was spending too much energy pushing the corpse.

Another struggling female in the same pod - J50, also known as Scarlet - was shot with antibiotics to fight an infection, since scientists worry that she has been losing a frightening amount of weight. "What exactly she's feeling we'll never know".

The researchers explain the dead calf has likely sunk deep into the inland marine waters of the Salish Sea, meaning it's uncertain whether scientists will get a chance to recover the body and investigate why the infant died.

Researchers with the Canadian and US governments and other organizations tracked her all the while, the Seattle Times wrote.

The lack of Chinook salmon, threats from toxic contamination and disturbance from vessels in the water - which disrupts the whales' ability to communicate and forage - have all threatened the animals' ability to thrive in recent times.

It was a journey of love, driven by a mother's loss, stretching across a thousand miles of ocean as the world watched and wondered.

Related Articles