killer whale who carried her dead calf for 17 days and 1,000 miles two years ago has given birth to a calf, CBS News reported on Monday.
The Southern Resident killer whale, Tahlequah, J35, likely gave birth on Friday, according to Ken Balcomb, the founder for the Center for Whale Research. She was found pregnant in July.
“We are pleased to report a NEW calf in J pod! J35’s new calf appeared healthy and precocious, swimming vigorously alongside its mother in its second day of free-swimming life,” the Center for Whale Research tweeted on Sunday.
Researchers say this is big news as up to 70 percent of pregnant orcas end with a miscarriage or a calf that dies shortly after birth, said the CBS News report, noting these struggling orcas have faced boat noise, a lack of food supply, habitat loss and environmental pollutants.
Tahlequah’s grief when her 2018 calf died shortly after it was born gripped the hearts of people all around the world.
The Southern Resident killer whales are a small, close-knit community of orcas, the largest species of dolphins, which live primarily along the coast of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, said the report. They were listed as endangered in 2005.