‘Grieving’ killer whale carries around deceased calf’s body for 17 days

13 Agosto, 2018, 08:40 | Author: Earnest Bishop
  • ‘It’s heartbreaking’: Killer whale continues carrying dead calf for ‘unprecedented’ length of mourning

The Center for Whale Research in Washington state says it watched the orca, known as J35 (Talequah), chase a school of salmon in Haro Strait west of San Juan Island on Saturday afternoon.

She carried her deceased baby off the coast of Vancouver Island from July 24th until at least August 9th, when she may have been spotted by whale watchers who told CWR researchers that J35 was not pushing her calf's corpse.

The Center for Whale Research has confirmed that the mother's "tour of grief" is finally over.

An audio recording from earlier this month apparently featured the mother's "mournful and prominent" calls, Q13 Fox reported.

The grieving mother had been pushing her dead orca calf around the water for 17 days after giving birth near Victoria, British Columbia in Canada.

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. If they don't, the ageing pods will dwindle for decades before the last orca dies.

"I am sobbing. I can't believe she is still carrying her calf around", Giles told the Seattle Times. She was no long carrying her baby. They hoped to capture the calf once Tahlequah finally let go, and discover why it had died - as almost all the babies in this pod seemed to die.

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She finally abandoned the carcass as it decomposed.

There hasn't been a successful birth among the southern resident killer whales in three years.

"Her tour of grief is now over and her behaviour is remarkably frisky". "Telephoto digital images taken from shore show that this mother whale appears to be in good physical condition", says the Centre for Whale Research.

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

The centre said the carcass likely sank to the bottom of the Salish Sea, and researchers may not get a chance to perform a necropsy. Researchers attribute the decline to a lack of Chinook salmon, as well as increased pollution, vessel traffic and noise. Only 75 killer whales in the endangered group, known as southern resident orcas, remain.

"The population (of orcas) is both Canadian and American in terms of moving back and forth, so it's been a real coordination between governments, NGOs, and also the research community", he said.



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