Killer whale back to feeding and frolicking after carrying dead calf for over two weeks during ‘deep grieving process’

The orca, known as J35, carried her dead calf on her head for more than two weeks.


Rescue teams have been carrying salmon to try to feed the emaciated pod (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times via AP, Pool)
Rescue teams have been carrying salmon to try to feed the emaciated pod (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times via AP, Pool)

An endangered killer whale, also known as an orca, that drew international attention as she carried her dead calf on her head for more than two weeks is finally back to feeding and frolicking with her pod.

The Centre for Whale Research in Washington state said it watched the orca, known as J35, chase a school of salmon in Haro Strait west of San Juan Island on Saturday afternoon.

The whales have been struggling because of a lack of salmon, and J35’s calf died soon after birth on July 24.

The mother carried the baby on her head for at least 17 days, in an image of grief that struck an emotional chord worldwide.

Jenny Atkinson, executive director of the Whale Museum on San Juan Island, said that J35 and her pod were going through a “deep grieving process.”

She finally abandoned the carcass as it decomposed.

Centre for Whale Research founder Ken Balcomb said he is immensely relieved to see J35 returning to typical behaviour.

Press Association

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