Grieving Orca Whale Releases Dead Calf After More Than Two Weeks

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 13, 2018

Yesterday, the mother, J35, was spotted vigorously chasing a school of salmon with her pod-mates in mid-Haro Strait in front of the centre.

"She is alive and well and at least over that part of her grief".

Researchers say an endangered killer whale that drew worldwide attention as she carried her dead calf on her head for more than two weeks is finally back to feeding and frolicking with her pod.

The mother whale - known as J35 - has captivated the world's attention in the past few days.

"Killer whales and dolphins have been known to support and transport their dead calves for as long as a week - a testament to the amazingly strong mother/offspring bond and caring", said the centre. The center said the whale appeared to be in good condition and "her behavior is remarkably frisky".

Her calf was born and died on July 24, and researchers say she towed it around for more than 1,500 kilometres. There have been sightings two days ago of J35 without her calf in the Georgia Strait near Vancouver.

She finally abandoned the carcass as it decomposed.

"The carcass has probably sunk to the bottom of these inland marine waters of the Salish Sea [between Canada and the US], and researchers may not get a chance to examine it for necropsy (autopsy of an animal)".

J35 was spotted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada while they were searching for another of the 75 southern resident killer whales, labelled an endangered species in both Canada and the United States.

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