Orca mom J35 lets dead baby go after 17 days of mourning

Orca J35 abandons dead calf
Orca mom J35 is chasing salmon again after ending a record period of mourning for her dead calf

Vancouver – Orca mom J35 has released her dead calf after a record period of grief.

J35 carried the dead baby for 17 days in mourning ritual.

On August 11 the Orca was seen aggressively chasing a school of salmon and appeared to be in good condition, according to Whale Research Center founder Ken Balcomb.

“This afternoon at 14.07 Pacific Daylight Time, 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 – no longer carrying the deceased baby that she had carried for at least seventeen days and 1,000 miles,” he said.

The tour of grief caught the world’s attention.

“Her tour of grief is now over and her behavior is remarkably frisky,” Balcomb said.

“Telephoto digital images taken from shore show that this mother whale appears to be in good physical condition (no evidence of “peanut-head”) following her record-setting ordeal.”

“There had been reports from brief sightings by whale-watchers two days ago that J35 (Tahlequah) was not pushing the calf carcass in Georgia Strait near Vancouver, BC; and, now we can confirm that she definitely has abandoned it.

“The carcass has probably sunk to the bottom of these inland marine waters of the Salish Sea, and researchers may not get a chance to examine it for necropsy.”

The killer whales are a threatened species. No viable births have occurred in three years and there are only 75 of these whales left.

Scientist say a lack of Chinook Salmon and human intrusion into their habitat is to blame.