A killer whale who made international news in 2018 after tragically carrying her stillborn calf through the water for 17 days has been spotted with a new healthy baby.
The Centre for Whale Research (CWR) shared details of new mum Tahlequah’s happy arrival, saying the orca calf was “precocious” and “swimming vigorously alongside its mother”.
The killer whale first made world news in the summer of 2018 when she carried her dead calf on her head for more than two weeks, while she travelled about 1610km with her pod through the Salish Sea between British Columbia in Canada and Washington state in the US. The CWR called it a “Tour of Grief”.
The new calf was spotted on September 5 by the CWR, again in the Salish Sea.
RELATED: Heartbreaking photo of baby possum
The CWR believes the newborn calf had been born the day before they spotted it, saying in a statement freshly born calves have a bent fin from being inside the womb.
“We know that it was not born today because its dorsal fin was upright, and we know that it takes a day or two to straighten after being bent over in the womb, so we assign its birthday as September 4, 2020.”
Killer whales have an 18-month-long gestation period and they believe mum Tahlequah, also known as J35, became pregnant in February 2019.
They named the new calf J57, and said the mum and baby were “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.”
RELATED: Top Aussie uni bans ‘inhumane’ test
“We hope this calf is a success story. Regrettably, with the whales having so much nutritional stress in recent years, a large percentage of pregnancies fail, and there is about a 40 per cent mortality for young calves,” the CWR said.
The CWR said the J Pod that Tahlequah and mum belong to are now estimated to have 73 orcas.