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After 17 days and 1,000 miles, mother orca Tahlequah drops her dead calf

It is possible that rather than Tahlequah deciding to drop the baby, it simply finally fell apart. When the calf was sighted last, it was beginning to deteriorate.

LYNDA V. MAPES: ‘Tahlequah the mother orca is no longer carrying her dead calf. “J35 frolicked past my window today with other J pod whales, and she looks vigorous and healthy,” Ken Balcomb, founding director of the Center for Whale Research, wrote in an email to The Seattle Times. “The ordeal of her carrying a dead calf for at least seventeen days and 1,000 miles is now over, thank goodness.”

J35, also known as Tahlequah, is part of the critically endangered southern-resident killer-whale population. Balcomb said J35 probably has lost two other offspring since giving birth to a male calf in 2010. The loss of the most recent calf “may have been emotionally hard on her,” Balcomb said. “She is alive and well and at least over that part of her grief. Today was the first day that I for sure saw her. It is no longer there”…

People around the world were moved by the plight of the southern residents as Tahlequah carried her dead baby, a female, day after day… It is possible that rather than Tahlequah deciding to drop the baby, it simply finally fell apart. When the calf was sighted last Thursday, it was beginning to deteriorate. Tahlequah had emphatically clung to the calf, diving deeply to retrieve the calf each time it slid from her head’. SOURCE…

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