Orca mother carries dead calf
- Independent news email
- Mother orca Tahlequah and her dead calf, one year later. How did she change the conversation?
Independent news email
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A grieving mother orca near Vancouver Island has been carrying her dead calf for four days, after refusing to leave her baby behind when the rest of her pod left. The mother killer whale, named J35 by researchers, gave birth Tuesday in what was initially a hopeful moment. Mother and female calf were seen swimming together that morning near Victoria, British Columbia, according to the Washington state-based Center for Whale Research. Orcas and dolphins have been known to swim their dead calves for as long as a week. The Center for Whale Research, which monitors the whale population for the American and Canadian governments, reports that three years have passed since an orca residing in the area has birthed a surviving calf. Only 75 killer whales in the endangered group, known as southern resident orcas, remain.
It was a year ago Wednesday that mother orca Tahlequah rallied attention to the plight of endangered southern resident killer whales and their struggle for survival. When she swam more than 1, miles carrying her dead calf that lived only one half-hour, millions of people around the world followed her journey. Hers was the most read story in The Seattle Times in Tahlequah was invoked by countless policy makers, urging changes to save the killer whales that frequent Puget Sound. So on her anniversary, the Times asked readers if they still think of her. Amid the reader responses, most said Tahlequah is still in their thoughts. Why on earth would we still be grieving the death of an orca calf a year later.
Seventeen days ago, a grieving orca mother known as Tahlequah began pushing her dead calf around the waters near Puget Sound. And now, after doing so for 1, miles 1, kilometers , she has let go. Tahlequah was spotted without her baby's body on Saturday Aug. Tahlequah who is also known as J35 appears to be in good physical shape and doesn't have any evidence of "peanut head," a condition that indicates that the whale is malnourished as its head bones begin to show, the Center for Whale Research reported. But the year-old whale's emotional state is unknown.
Mother orca Tahlequah and her dead calf, one year later. How did she change the conversation?