Grieving Orca Mother Seen Carrying Her Dead Calf Through The Ocean For Days ?

Coping with the loss of a child is a difficult feat for any mother – and this orca has proved that animals are no different. She carried a dead calf on her nose, swimming for more than three days without letting go in the Pacific Northwest.

“I think she’s just grieving, unwilling at this point to let the calf go, like, ‘Why, why, why?’” said Ken Balcomb, Founder and Chief Scientist for the Center for Whale Research.

With about 75 whales, there should be eight or nine new babies each year. But, that hasn’t been the case lately. This whale gave birth to the first calf the local orca population has seen since 2015.

But, a mere hour and a half after she gave birth, the calf died.

The calf sinks because it doesn’t have enough blubber to float. But, the grieving mother dives down to the bottom and picks it up again:

Some couldn’t understand why she continued to hold onto the dead calf:

Which received a heartbreaking explanation:

People were heartbroken for the poor momma whale:

Balcomb has tracked the population for more than four decades. Population decline, which is thought to be caused by environmental destruction, shortened food supply, and a dwindling gene pool, is contributing to the endangerment of other animals, like the Chinook.

Ocras use vocal communication, and express emotions like grief. Sometimes, the whales will bring the bodies of their dead calves up to the surface of the water – and this can go on for hours. But, with hundreds of miles under her belt and a trek from Victoria to San Juan Islands, this orca has been on quite a long mourning swim.

“We know it happens, but this one is kind of on tour almost, like she’s just not letting go.” Balcomb said.

She has last been spotted still balancing the dead calf on her nose, swimming at the southern point of the San Juan Islands.

The world is mourning (and sobbing) alongside this mourning mom:

I’m not crying, you’re crying. Ok fine, we’re all crying.

H / T – Twitter, NYTimes


Written by Alex Maxx

Alex is an author with a passion for storytelling, black coffee, and the oxford comma. She has been published in POPSUGAR, Diply, Alloy, The Mighty, Yahoo, College Fashionista, and Her Campus. When she isn't busy attempting to smash the glass ceiling, or dismantling the patriarchy, she enjoys binge-watching true crime documentaries, online window shopping, and going on adventures and exploring new places.
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