In this photo, taken July 24, 2018, a dead orca calf is being pushed by her mother off the coast near Victoria. The calf died soon after being born. The mother, known as J35 or Tahlequah, is pregnant again, according to the Sealife Response, Rehabilitation and Research. (Michael Weiss/Center for Whale Research via AP)

Southern resident orca who carried her dead calf is pregnant again

J35 carried her dead calf for 17 days in 2018

A southern resident orca known for carrying her dead calf for nearly three weeks is pregnant again, say researchers.

In 2018, orca J35 or Tahlequah’s ‘tour of grief’ captured global attention as a visceral representation of the endangered southern resident population, of which only 73 whales are estimated to remain.

Aerial images captured earlier this month by scientists from SR3 (Sealife Response, Rehabilitation and Research) identified pregnant orcas in all three southern resident pods (J, K and L), but the organization says this doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a baby boom for the dwindling orca pods.

READ ALSO: Orca’s ‘tour of grief’ over after carrying dead calf around for nearly 3 weeks

“This is not unusual,” says a press release from SR3. “And unfortunately the majority of recent pregnancies have not resulted in successful births.”

Known for carrying her dead calf for 17 days in 2018, southern resident orca J35 or Tahlequah, is pregantn again. (SR3 SeaLife Response, Rehab and Research and NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in 2019 and SR3 and Southall Environmental Associates in 2020; both collected under NMFS research permit 19091)

Reproduction failures are typically linked to malnutrition caused by shrinking salmon numbers, SR3 notes. Pregnancy in killer whales lasts up to 18 months.

“We hope folks on the water can give the southern residents plenty of space to forage at this important time. With such a small population … every successful birth is hugely important for recovery.”

In 2019, the Canadian government implemented a mandate for boats in the Salish Sea to maintain a 400-metre distance from orcas in an effort to lessen the effects of disturbance and underwater noise pollution. In 2020, foraging and extended sanctuary zones were implemented, including an area based fishery closure for critical habitat areas in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and near the Gulf Islands.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans asks boaters to slow down below seven knots or less and stop fishing within 1,000 kilometres of orcas. Those on the water can also help by turning off echo sounders and fish finders when they are not in use.

READ ALSO: Three southern resident killer whales declared dead plunging population to 73


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

OrcaVictoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

More bats nothing to worry about, say Okanagan experts

The Okanagan Community Bat program says residents may see more young bats around

BCHL hockey is back with announcement of Okanagan Cup

The BCHL four-team tournament starts Friday, Sept. 25

Okanagan Beach Club fined for not complying to COVID-19 rules, tiki bar closed

Interior Health order the tiki bar closed due to non-compliance with Provincial Health Officer orders

Men’s volleyball’s 2020 incoming class spikes talent at UBCO

UBCO has recruited six new players for the 2020-21 season

Drugs, weapons seized from downtown Kelowna residence

Search warrant was in relation to an active criminal investigation into suspected drug trafficking

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Water off for some Okanagan residents

Emergency repair in Lake Country

B.C. Green leader says NDP abandoning environmental plan

Horgan’s claim of unstable government false, Furstenau says

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Straight from DeHart

New bar bistro opens at Airport Village

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Transgender B.C. brothers debut fantasy novel as author duo Vincent Hunter

‘Transgender people are being misrepresented in popular fiction and media, and we aim to change that’

Kiera Bourque’s sentence ‘an embarrassment’: family of deceased Penticton teen

Bourque was sentenced to one year in prison for her role in the 2017 death of Devon Blackmore

‘Won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving:’ Trudeau says COVID-19 2nd wave underway

In all, COVID-19 has killed about 9,250 people in Canada

Most Read