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World Mourning orca mother carries dead calf for fifth day

14:05  30 july  2018
14:05  30 july  2018 Source:   foxnews.com

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A mourning orca whale continued to carry her dead calf for a fifth straight day on Saturday, which is a rare occurrence in nature and is believed to be grieving. It kept sinking, and the mother would raise it to the surface," Ken Balcomb, a senior scientist with the Center for Whale Research on San Juan

'Grief and love don't belong to us': Mother orca in mourning carries her dead calf for days . Researchers can do nothing but watch as an endangered orca mother carries her dead calf for what is now the fourth straight day in the Salish Sea.

a dog swimming in a body of water: July 24: A baby orca whale is being pushed by her mother after being born off the Canada coast near Victoria, British Columbia. © Center for Whale Research July 24: A baby orca whale is being pushed by her mother after being born off the Canada coast near Victoria, British Columbia.

A mourning orca whale continued to carry her dead calf for a fifth straight day on Saturday, which is a rare occurrence in nature and is believed to be grieving.

J35, a member of the critically endangered southern resident family of orcas, gave birth to her calf Tuesday only to watch it die within half an hour.

"The baby was so newborn it didn't have blubber. It kept sinking, and the mother would raise it to the surface," Ken Balcomb, a senior scientist with the Center for Whale Research on San Juan Island, Washington State, said

'Unbelievably sad.' A grieving killer whale carries her dead calf off British Columbia

  'Unbelievably sad.' A grieving killer whale carries her dead calf off British Columbia An orca has been spotted off the coast of Victoria, British Columbia, propping the body of her dead newborn calf up in the water with her head for two days, researchers say."It is unbelievably sad," said Brad Hanson, wildlife biologist with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, according to The Seattle Times.Deborah Giles, a biologist with the Center for Conservation Biology, told KCPQ that photos of the orca carrying her dead newborn are "heartbreaking.""She was grieving," Giles said, according to the station. "She knew it was dead.

'Grief and love don't belong to us': Mother orca in mourning carries her dead calf for days . Researchers can do nothing but watch as an endangered orca mother carries her dead calf for what is now the fourth straight day in the Salish Sea.

'Grief and love don't belong to us': Mother orca in mourning carries her dead calf for days . Researchers can do nothing but watch as an endangered orca mother carries her dead calf for what is now the fourth straight day in the Salish Sea.

Since then, she's been carrying the calf's body around on her nose, diving to pick it up again when it falls off. She was last sighted in the early evening on Saturday in Canadian waters.

Scientists have documented grieving behavior in other animals with close social bonds in small, tightly knit groups, observed carrying newborns that did not survive. The baby orca was the first calf born in three years to the endangered orcas, the Center for Whale Research said.

Seven species in seven geographic regions covering three oceans have been documented carrying the body of their deceased young, including Risso's dolphin in the Indian Ocean; the Indo-Pacific bottle-nosed dolphin and the spinner dolphin in the Red Sea; and pilot whales in the North Atlantic.

Orca mom mourns calf's death by carrying the body for days

  Orca mom mourns calf's death by carrying the body for days On Thursday, the mother entered her third day of pushing her calf's carcass. "It's still happening," Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research, said.The calf was born near near Victoria, British Columbia, located about 75 miles northwest of Seattle. Researchers working to track Southern Resident killer whales responded to the scene, the Center for Whale Research said in a release.

'Grief and love don't belong to us': Mother orca in mourning carries her dead calf for days . Researchers can do nothing but watch as an endangered orca mother carries her dead calf for what is now the fourth straight day in the Salish Sea.

Orca carrying her baby. (Photo: AP). Researchers can do nothing but watch as an endangered orca mother carries her dead calf for what is now the fourth straight day in the Salish Sea.

But more than 24 hours of grieving is a rare occurance, says Deborah Giles, research scientist for University of Washington Center for Conservation Biology and research director for the nonprofit Wild Orca.

"It is horrible. This is an animal that is a sentient being," Giles told The AP. "It understands the social bonds that it has with the rest of its family members. She carried the calf in her womb from 17 to 18 months, she is bonded to it and she doesn't want to let it go. It is that simple. She is grieving."

J35's news came just as researchers were also tracking a 4-year-old in the southern residents that is emaciated, and whose survival may be in doubt due to loss of body fat.

Researchers have been growing more concerned about the fate of the southern residents, who face three major challenges to their survival as a species: toxins, vessel traffic and lack of adequate food (their primary food source being chinook salmon

The most recent census of the orcas has found that they number just 75 in the area, across three southern resident pods. For the last three years there have been no new calfs born to the shrinking killer whales in the Pacific Northwest.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Grieving orca still swimming with her dead calf in Northwest .
An endangered orca is still clinging to her dead calf as she swims in Northwest waters more than two weeks after her newborn died. Michael Milstein, a spokesman with NOAA Fisheries, says researchers on Wednesday spotted the 20-year-old whale known as J35 carrying her dead young off the tip of the Olympic Peninsula.Michael Milstein, a spokesman with NOAA Fisheries, says researchers on Wednesday spotted the 20-year-old whale known as J35 carrying her dead young off the tip of Washington's Olympic Peninsula.

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