Endangered Orca That Carried Her Dead Calf For 17 Days Is Now Pregnant Again

Endangered Orca That Carried Her Dead Calf For 17 Days Is Now Pregnant Again

The Orca whale, named Tahlequah, carried her dead calf for nearly 1,000 miles in 2018. Now she's pregnant again.

Almost two years ago, the world grieved for an orca known as Tahlequah after she carried her dead calf for 17 days. According to a report by CNN, Tahlequah is pregnant once again and we cannot be happier for her. She also goes by the name J-35 and had given birth two years ago. Back then, it was the first baby orca for her in three years. Unfortunately, her calf died just 30 minutes later after she gave birth, reported the Seattle Times



Heartbroken, she carried her dead baby for 17 days and traveled almost 1,000 miles. Tahlequah is part of the Southern Resident whales that primarily reside in the Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. In 2005, Orca whales were listed as endangered species. The Orcas make up three different pods and they have been dubbed J, K, and L.



While unsuccessful pregnancies are not uncommon among the Southern Resident orcas, Tahlequah's story is notable because her story was extremely heartbreaking. At present, going by the drone pictures, she's just one of several pregnant killer whales that have been identified by researchers since early July, according to SR3, a sea life response, rehab, and research group.



An online release read, "Studies by our colleagues at the University of Washington have shown that these reproductive failures are linked to nutrition and access to their Chinook salmon prey. So, we hope folks on the water can give the Southern Residents plenty of space to forage at this important time."



Scientists John Durban and Holly Fearnbach, who work with the Southall Environmental Associates and SR3 respectively discovered that Tahlequah is pregnant once again. A picture of the killer whale from this month, compared to a picture from September last year shows her middle notably enlarged and the gestation period of Orca whales is usually between 15 to 18 months. 



While the killer whale's pregnancy is definitely good news, but even her second pregnancy is not guaranteed, since about a third of the pregnancies among the Southern Residents aren't successful, a study from the University of Washington reads. The study notes, "Lack of prey, increased toxins, and vessel disturbance have been listed as potential causes of the whaleโ€™s decline." Apart from that, the main food source of Orcas is Chinook salmon, which are also endangered.



According to another report by the National Wildlife Federation, climate change and pollution are also posing a huge threat to the marine population, including these killer whales. Back in 2018, the Center for Whale Research published a press release about her dead calf. It read, "At sunset, a group of 5-6 females gathered at the mouth of the cove in a close, tight-knit circle, staying at the surface in a harmonious circular motion for nearly 2 hours...[After dark] they stayed directly centered in the moonbeam, even as it moved."



Last May, another whale gave birth among the Southern residents and the Center for Whale Research called it a 'very welcoming addition' because of its struggling population. 

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