Killer whale Tahlequah gives birth after losing her baby two years ago

Tahlequah and her baby, photo: Katie Jones, Center for Whale Research / Permit #21238 / WhaleResearch.com
Tahlequah and her baby, photo: Katie Jones, Center for Whale Research / Permit #21238 / WhaleResearch.com

An endangered killer whale named Tahlequah is a new mother. She became ‘famous’ when she carried her dead calf on her head in mourning for 17 days through the Salish Sea in 2018.

Tahlequah, known to scientists as J35, probably gave birth on Friday, the Center for Whale Research in the state of Washington said in a statement.

“Her new calf appeared healthy, swimming vigorously alongside his/her mother in its second day of free-swimming life,” the center said. The center does not know the gender of the new calf yet.

They said that when Tahlequah was spotted she was mostly separate from the other whales and “very evasive” as she crossed the border into Canada.

“So we ended our encounter with her after a few minutes and wished them well on their way,” the center said. “We hope this calf is a success story.”

Tahlequah made headlines in the summer of 2018 when she carried her dead calf on her head for 17 days while she swam about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) around the Salish Sea, near British Columbia in Canada.

Nutritional stress in recent years is to blame for a large percentage of whale pregnancies failing. And there’s a 40% mortality rate for young calves, the center said.


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