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ENDANGERED Orca carries dead calf around for days
J35 carries dead calf – Picture by Ken Balcomb

Endangered Southern Resident Orca (designated scientific number J35) gave birth last week (July 24 2018) to a much needed female calf.  Within 30 minutes the calf perished.  J35, also known as Tahlequah, proceeded to carry her baby afloat for days.  She was seen pushing the baby to the surface with her rostrum and carrying the newborn on her back up and down Haro Strait.  Although many people would disagree with attributing human qualities to Orca (anthropomorphism) it is very difficult not to do so in this case.  This is clearly a heartbroken young mother not ready to let her dead calf go!

These Southern Resident Killer Whales are dying and if we don’t take action they will continue to die.  We do not know now and we may never know for certain why J35 lost her baby. What we do know is that malnutrition in young mammals often results in early death.  Good Food makes healthy mammals, and more food makes healthier whales.  The government needs to prioritize this endangered population and make a major thrust on enhancing Chinook populations NOW.  It is no secret that there are two scientifically proven disasters that are effecting these Orca hugely.

  1. The pollution in the Lower Fraser River.  It is killing juvenile Chinook, the very species these whales depend on.
  2. Chinook Salmon species is in major decline.  No Salmon, No Whales – it’s as simple as that!  It’s truly a crying shame that our government still has not taken any action to provide for more food for these Southern Residents.

Learn more about SpringTide’s Contribution to Conservation on our website or read more articles about J35 on our Facebook Page.

On the evening of July 29th 2018, J35 was reported to be still carrying her dead calf.  This heartbreaking scene is going to be one of many more to come if we don’t act now.  Contact your local government officials and insist they make these amazing animals a priority sooner rather than later, before it’s too late!

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