Mother Orca Drops Her Dead Calf After 17 Days Of Grief


1 Minutes Read

Tahlequah carries her calf (Photo: Michael Weiss, Center for Whale Research) - Media Credit:

an orca who is a member of a ‘critically endangered’ population, is finally
without her offspring after 17 days of carrying her – in a tragic display which
captivated many.


This is estimated
to be Tahlequah’s third such loss since 2010 – all deaths prompted by salmon shortages,
which have kept the population from producing healthy offspring for three

The mother orca carried her most recent calf for many days on her own – retrieving her
every time she slipped from her head – but the pair’s pod eventually lightened the
load, helping her travel roughly 1,000 miles with her offspring.

‘Unprecedented’ display

While research has shown that aquatic mammals do have the capacity for such displays
of what is believed to be grief – Tahlequah’s ordeal is unlike any other
previously documented.

It is
unclear whether it finally came to an end because she wilfully dropped her calf, or because it had deteriorated over the 17-day period.

‘Alive and

the Center For Whale Research’s Ken Balcomb has said that Tahlequah is ‘alive
and well’ – and has ‘been eating’.

He said
also that something will ‘hopefully’ be done about the salmon shortages to
prevent losses such as Tahlequah’s, which he noted ‘may have been emotionally
hard for her’.

Join The Plant Based Newsletter and we will plant a tree! 🌳

We plant a tree for every signup. You’ll receive our weekly news round-up and be the first to hear about, product launches, exclusive offers and more!

© 2023 Plant Based News is a UK-based digital media outlet publishing content about veganism and plant-based living, including news and current events, health, personal transformation stories, features, and recipes. | Plant Based News Ltd, PO Box 71173, London, SE20 9DQ, United Kingdom.