Killer whale finally lets dead calf go

Cheryl Sanders
August 13, 2018

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.

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.

Tahlequah is one of two orcas in the pod that scientists have been monitoring.

"The baby's carcass was sinking and being repeatedly retrieved by the mother, who was supporting it on her forehead and pushing it in choppy seas", the CWR said in a statement at the time.

The scientists have ruled out attempting to force her to give up the calf, according to the Times. "And we know that it swam by her there is a part of me that believes that the grief could be much deeper, because they had bonded".

This continued for 17 days, with Tahlequah pushing the calf along in waters near Canada's Vancouver Island. "Telephoto digital images taken from shore show that this mother whale appears to be in good physical condition following her record-setting ordeal".

But she's also known as Tahlequah.

But for now at least, life goes on for Tahlequah. Eventually, researchers stopped calling what they were witnessing "rare" and began using the word "unprecedented".

People wrote poems about Tahlequah, and drew pictures.

Mr. Garrett said J50 still looks very bad but is still travelling with her family, although sometimes lagging behind them. The world's interest in her feat finally grew to encompass her whole family.

Experts say each orca is crucial to the pod's survival. They're now tracking the young whale - Scarlet - in an attempt to feed her antibiotic-laced salmon.

At the same time, the mother's obsession has become gravely concerning to researchers. They anxious that the effort of pushing her calf - for about 1000 miles (1609 kilometres) - would make Tahlequah weak and keep her from finding enough food.

The Associated Press reports the Center for Whale Research in Washington state said it watched "J35", also known as Tahlequah, chase a school of salmon on Saturday afternoon.

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