J-35 releases her dead calf

The Center for Whale Research saw J-35 vigorously chasing a school of salmon with her pod-mates for half a mile in  mid-Haro Strait Saturday afternoon, August 11. She was  no longer carrying the deceased baby that she had carried for at least seventeen days and 1,000 miles.

 "The ordeal of J35 carrying her dead calf for at least seventeen days and 1,000 miles is now over, thank goodness," said Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research.

J-35 swimming with other members of J-Pod on the west side of San Juan Island.  Photographs by Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research

Telephoto digital images taken from shore show shd appears to be in good physical condition following her record-setting ordeal. There had been reports from brief sightings by whale-watchers two days ago that J35 (Tahlequah) was not pushing the calf carcass in Georgia Strait near Vancouver, BC. With the August 11 sitings, The Center for Whale Research can confirm that she definitely has abandoned it.

The carcass has probably sunk to the bottom of these inland marine waters of the Salish Sea, and researchers may not get a chance to examine it for necropsy. 

J-35 with dead calf 24 hours after its birth. Photo by Ken Balcomb Center for Whale Research. 


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