Afflicted orca Tahlequah finally drops her dead calf after carrying it for 17 days

The afflicted orca J35 also known as Tahlequah finally broke free of its dead calf, photographed in the foreground on Saturday swimming with its capsule in the Strait of Haro in front of San Juan Island

The orca, in danger of extinction, which has been clinging to its dead calf for more than two weeks and swimming for 1,000 miles, has finally released its baby.

The 20-year-old mother, known as J35 or Tahlequah, broke the hearts of observers around the world who were moved by the story of the afflicted whale.

On Saturday, she was seen looking "vigorous and healthy" after 17 days of swimming with her calf dead on her forehead, in the Haro Strait, off the coast of Washington.

"J35 went through my window today with other J Pod Whales, and it looks vigorous and healthy," Ken Balcomb, founding director of the Whale Research Center, told the Seattle Times.

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The afflicted orca J35 also known as Tahlequah finally broke free of its dead calf, photographed in the foreground on Saturday swimming with its capsule in the Strait of Haro in front of San Juan Island

The afflicted orca J35 also known as Tahlequah finally broke free of its dead calf, photographed in the foreground on Saturday swimming with its capsule in the Strait of Haro in front of San Juan Island

The orca in danger clung to its dead calf for a total of 17 days swimming for 1,000 miles precariously swinging its newborn on its forehead. The baby died on July 24, in the photo above

The orca in danger clung to its dead calf for a total of 17 days swimming for 1,000 miles precariously swinging its newborn on its forehead. The baby died on July 24, in the photo above

The orca in danger clung to its dead calf for a total of 17 days swimming for 1,000 miles precariously swinging its newborn on its forehead. The baby died on July 24, in the photo above

Experts from the Whale Museum on San Juan Island have been monitoring the whale since its baby died and say it was discovered "vigorous and healthy" without the calf on Saturday, in the photo of the duel on July 24.

Experts from the Whale Museum on San Juan Island have been monitoring the whale since its baby died and say it was discovered "vigorous and healthy" without the calf on Saturday, in the photo of the duel on July 24.

Experts from the Whale Museum on San Juan Island have been monitoring the whale since its baby died and say it was discovered "vigorous and healthy" without the calf on Saturday, in the photo of the duel on July 24.

Researchers say that the killer whale and the rest of its pod are going through a "deep mourning process". The mother has been seen propping the dead newborn on her forehead and trying to keep it floating near the surface in the waters off the coast of Victoria, British Columbia.

Researchers say that the killer whale and the rest of its pod are going through a "deep mourning process". The mother has been seen propping the dead newborn on her forehead and trying to keep it floating near the surface in the waters off the coast of Victoria, British Columbia.

Researchers say that the killer whale and the rest of its pod are going through a "deep mourning process". The mother has been seen propping the dead newborn on her forehead and trying to keep it floating near the surface in the waters off the coast of Victoria, British Columbia.

"The terrible experience of her carrying a dead calf for at least seventeen days and 1,000 miles is over, thank God," he added.

He says he has lost two other children since giving birth to a calf in 2010 and losing his last calf "may have been emotionally hard for her."

& # 39; She is alive and well and at least about that part of her pain. Today was the first day I saw her. It is not there anymore, "Balcomb said.

Despite his 17-day mourning period, he showed no side of the "peanut head" or malnutrition in an orca. Balcomb added that she's been eating & # 39; as a sign that it is healthy and well.

She almost lost track of her pod after falling behind during her time of anguish.

Killer whales are very sociable creatures that live in large groups known as pods. If she lost her group and was isolated, she would have suffered a potentially deadly food shortage, experts warned.

Researchers have been monitoring the activity of an orca mother grieving over the past week as she dragged the corpse of her dead calf through Puget Sound in British Columbia. The whale now carries the body for seven days throughout the region, after his death on July 24

Researchers have been monitoring the activity of an orca mother grieving over the past week as she dragged the corpse of her dead calf through Puget Sound in British Columbia. The whale now carries the body for seven days throughout the region, after his death on July 24

Researchers have been monitoring the activity of an orca mother grieving over the past week as she dragged the corpse of her dead calf through Puget Sound in British Columbia. The whale now carries the body for seven days throughout the region, after his death on July 24

J50, four and a half years old, also known as Scarlet and in the photograph above, was found emaciated and ill while he was with his mother on Wednesday and is being breastfed to recover.

J50, four and a half years old, also known as Scarlet and in the photograph above, was found emaciated and ill while he was with his mother on Wednesday and is being breastfed to recover.

J50, four and a half years old, also known as Scarlet and in the photograph above, was found emaciated and ill while he was with his mother on Wednesday and is being breastfed to recover.

Tahlequah was last seen by investigators on Wednesday who still carried her son Yong dead on the coast of Victoria, British Columbia, according to Michael Milstein.

The Puget Sound calf was the first in three years to be born from the dwindling population of killer whales resident in the south in danger of extinction.

Only 75 of the mammals remain.

She remained under the watchful eye of the experts at the Whale Museum on the island of San Juan after the death of her calf last month.

& # 39; The baby was so newborn that he had no fat. It continued to sink, and the mother brought it to the surface, "said Ken Balcomb, principal scientist at the Whale Research Center on San Juan Island, which tracks individual whales closely.

It's horrible. This is an animal that is a sensitive being, "said Deborah Giles, director of science and research at the non-profit organization Wild Orc.

WHY DO SCIENTISTS THINK THAT WHALES AND DOLPHINS CRY?

Whales and dolphins have been seen & # 39; bearing & # 39; or taking care of their dead young several times.

These creatures may be in mourning or have not accepted or acknowledged that the offspring or partner have died.

Scientists still do not know if aquatic mammals really recognize death and are looking to do more research on this subject.

In 2016, scientists found evidence that whales and dolphins perform "vigils" for their dead.

They analyzed several cases in which mammals clung to the bodies of dead compatriots and watched over a dead companion.

At that time, they said that the most likely explanation was mourning.

The study compiled observations of 14 events.

They discovered that mothers used to take their dead youngsters over the water, often flanked by friends.

In many cases, the dead pups broke down, indicating that they had been kept for a long time.

"Understand the social ties you have with the rest of the members of your family."

& # 39; (The mother) is attached to (the calf) and does not want to let go. It's that easy. She is distressed, "he added.

Whales and dolphins are known to express pain and even perform "vigils" for their dead by clinging to the lifeless bodies of their young for days to keep them safe from predators. The exhibition of Tahlequah was unprecedented, touching an emotional cord throughout the world.

Shortly after Tahlequah made headlines with her daughter carrying, the vets ran to save the life of another hungry calf.

J50, four and a half years old, also known as Scarlet, was found emaciated and ill while she was with her mother on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the vets monitored the calf saying that its condition is better than expected, but that it is terribly thin and severely malnourished.

"The reason why J35 lost his baby and the others are losing their babies is that there is not enough salmon, hopefully we will do something about it," Balcomb said.

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