Killer Whale who Lost her Calf is Finally a Mother Again

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Hannah Stai, News Editor

The killer whale known as Tahlequah swam with her dead calf for 17 days in an act of grieving. However, according to a news release from the Whale Research Center, Tahlequah has just given birth to a new calf last week.

The mother and child were spotted swimming with their pod in the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca, between Washington state and Vancouver Island. Tahlequah made headlines back in 2018 when she swam about 1,000 miles of ocean with the body of her dead calf. The calf unfortunately died a few hours after birth but its mother prevented it from sinking for more than two weeks..

“She was still capable of producing a live calf after an approximate eighteen-month gestation! Hooray!” the research release said. “Her new calf appeared healthy and precocious, swimming vigorously alongside its mother in its second day of free-swimming life.”

Researchers believe the calf was born September 4, as its dorsal fin was upright, a development that occurs about two days after birth. 

With the new birth of Tahlequah’s calf, the endangered Southern Resident orca population is now 73.