Orca's 'tour of grief' over after carrying dead calf for weeks

It’s heartbreaking’ Killer whale continues carrying dead calf for ‘unprecedented’ length of mourning

It’s heartbreaking’ Killer whale continues carrying dead calf for ‘unprecedented’ length of mourning

"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.

"She carried this for 17 months before it was born", Atkinson said.

CWR founder Ken Balcomb said he was immensely relieved to see J35 returning to typical behaviour.

The cause is no mystery: Humans have netted up the whales' salmon, driven ships through their hunting lanes and polluted their water, to the point that researchers fear Tahlequah's generation may be the last of her family. 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 die.

The heartbreaking story of an orca whale mother who has been carrying her deceased calfs body with her for more than 1,500 km has come to an end.

An endangered female orca is no longer carrying her dead calf around the Pacific Ocean, ending her almost three-week-long "tour of grief".

The centre called the mother's ordeal "record-setting".

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Pictures of the mother carrying the infant, who was born on 24 July, drew attention around the globe as experts determined the female orca was going through a "deep grieving process". "And now we can confirm that she definitely has abandoned it".

It's believed her calf's body sunk to the bottom of the strait, meaning researchers may not get a chance to examine it for an autopsy.

Scientists have also moved to save J-50, another whale in the endangered pod.

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

It was a journey of love, driven by a mother's loss, stretching across a thousand miles of ocean as the world watched and wondered. According to NPR's Dwyer, the population of Southern Resident killer whales has decreased by about a quarter in the past 20 years, largely because their food source, the Chinook salmon, has also seen a dramatic population decline.

Another orca in the pod, a 3½-year-old known as J50, is emaciated and in poor condition.

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