Monday, 19 November, 2018

Grieving Orca Mother Finally Lets Her Dead Newborn Go After 17 Days

Tahlequah is no longer carrying her dead calf and appears to be vigorous and healthy as she swims with her pod in Haro Strait off San Juan Island on Saturday. Her ordeal of carrying her dead calf for at least 17 days and 1,000 miles is over Grieving Orca Mother Finally Lets Her Dead Newborn Go After 17 Days
Anna Jefferson | 13 August, 2018, 13:05

"Her tour of grief is now over and her behavior is remarkably frisky", according to a statement on the Center for Whale Research's website.

The center said she had been seen briefly two days before without the calf, but the sighting Saturday was confirmation that her "tour of grief" was at an end.

In this file photo taken Tuesday, July 24, 2018, provided by the Center for Whale Research, a baby orca whale is being pushed by her mother.

Sadly, Tahlequah and her daughter enjoyed less than an hour swimming together after the calf was born, before the infant died of an unknown cause.

Witnesses even described the group, which had been struggling due to a lack of salmon, gathering in a cove for what looked like a "ritual or ceremony" after the baby died.

Tahlequah, as the mother has come to be called, gave birth on July 25 in what should have been a happy milestone for her long-suffering clan.

An apparently grieving female orca whale who swam with the body of her dead calf for more than two weeks has stopped carrying the carcass, environmental officials said.

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J35's grief became an worldwide story when photos of her carrying the dead calf hit the internet.

She finally abandoned the carcass as it decomposed.

The Center for Whale Research said the killer whale, known as J35, was spotted off the western coast of San Juan Island, Wash., without her baby while she chased a school of salmon with her podmates for about a kilometre.

Aside from the emotional impact, this behaviour can have physical consequences too, but new telephoto images taken by the Centre for Whale Research reveal Tahlequah appears to be in good physical condition, with no evidence of 'peanut head' skull deformations incurred by the relentless pushing and not enough food.

Scientists have also moved to save J-50, another whale in the endangered pod.

The orcas of Washington State's inland waters are down to just 75 animals and there has not been a successful birth since 2015. The CWR says 100% of pregnancies for Southern Resident killer whales over the past 3 years have failed to produce viable offspring.

Experts say each orca is crucial to the pod's survival.

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