The famous killer whale who reportedly carried the dead body of her child for more than 17 days in the Salish Sea off British Columbia has given birth again.
Tahlequah (or J35), who is an orca, also called a killer whale, made global headlines for her heartbreaking act of ferrying around the dead body of her baby for 17 days.
Now, she is a mother again after scientists spotted the endangered animal with her newborn in Haro Strait, northwest of Seattle, earlier in the week, the Center for Whale Research in the state of Washington announced.
“Hooray! Her new calf appeared healthy and precocious, swimming vigorously alongside its mother in its second day of free-swimming life,” the center said in a statement. The gestation period of Orcas is typically 18 months.
Back in July media reports confirmed the same whale was pregnant who shocked the science fraternity in 2018 with her show of unprecedented mourning time for her species, carrying the dead baby for weeks, refusing to let it sink.
Drone footage of Tahlequah confirmed her pregnancy. While whale pregnancies are not uncommon, the whale mother is a part of the observed SRKW pod comprising of 75 whales, including the tiny new addition.
The research center did not reveal the gender of the baby but said the birthday of the calf was apparently earlier than it was spotted since by the time the baby was spotted its dorsal fins were upright, while at birth it tends to stay bent for sometimes from being in the womb (isn’t it too cute?).
“[…] so we assign its birthday as September 4, 2020,” the Center for Whale Research said. “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.”
Most of the whale pregnancies fail, thanks to the nutritional stress in recent years, and regrettably, the calf mortality rate stands at a heartbreaking 40%.