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


"J35 vigorously chased a school of salmon with her pod-mates in mid-Haro Strait in front of the Center for Whale Research for a half mile", they said.

On Jul. 24, Tahlequah's baby orca died shortly after birth, in what has been a common story for the southern resident killer whale population.

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

"Her tour of grief is now over and her behavior is remarkably frisky", Center for Whale Research founder Ken Balcomb said.

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. "Telephoto digital images taken from shore show that this mother whale appears to be in good physical condition", says the Centre for Whale Research. 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.

The 400-pound, orange-tinted baby that wriggled out of her that morning was the first live birth in the pod since 2015, Chiu wrote.

As we learned from a report from Mark Leiren-Young at The Georgia Straight, the 20-year-old orca refused to let her sink, pushing the body the surface each time it slid under water. It couldn't have been easy for her. Tahlequah's pod travels dozens of miles in a day, Chiu wrote, and she pushed her baby's hundreds of pounds every inch of the way.

But she's finally been able to move on from her grief, as we learned from an update from the Center for Whale Research over the weekend.

But she's also known as Tahlequah.

The body of J35's baby has, by now, sunk to the bottom of the Salish Sea and may not be available to researchers for examination.

Both Canada and the USA list the Southern Resident killer whale as endangered.

The Southern Resident killer whale, as J35 is listed, depends on the Chinook salmon for food.

"It's just really neat to see how much people care, and how much people are concerned, and the sense of stewardship people have for their environment around them, particularly here in B.C.", said the veterinarian.