Killer whale who carried her dead calf for 17 days gives birth again

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A baby calf was spotted swimming alongside of his mother in the United States waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Saturday according to researchers from the Center for Whale Research. Scientists estimate the calf to be one-week-old.

The organization spotted the baby dubbed J-57 “swimming vigorously alongside its mother” between the state of Washington and British Columbia.

“On September 5, we followed up on a report from one of the whalewatchers that a very small calf was seen. Tahlequah was mostly separate from the other whales and being very evasive as she crossed the border into Canada, so we ended our encounter with her after a few minutes and wished them well on their way,” the report stated.

In 2018, Tahlequah became famous when she carried her dead calf for 17 days around the Salish Sea – the site of three orca pods. Her grief was shared by millions as her story went viral.

Unfortunately the whales in this area have suffered from environmental stresses especially as a result of lack of food and thus nutrition. The orcas would mainly feed on Chinook salmon whose populations have drastically declined in the past few years. Many researchers think the decrease of food and nutrition accounted for Tahlequah’s still birth.

“Regrettably, with the whales having so much nutritional stress in recent years, a large percentage of pregnancies fail, and there is out 40% mortality for young calves. We hope this calf is a success story,” the Center for Whale Research posted.

Wishing Tahlequah and her calf a safe and long journey.

Read Tahlequah’s earlier story here.

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