Orca back to feeding, frolicking after carrying dead calf

Tahlequah is no longer carrying her dead calf

A grieving mother orca has finally let her dead calf go, ending her "tour of grief". The calf - which she'd been holding on her head - was gone.

"She is alive and well and at least over that part of her grief".

Researchers had anxious J35, who was last spotted with her dead calf Wednesday, was not eating properly and was spending too much energy pushing the corpse. Today (Saturday local time) was the first day that I, for sure, saw her.

Center for Whale Research founder Ken Balcomb said it's "unprecedented" for an orca to keep this going for so long.

Orcas, also called killer whales, are highly social, and this pod was spotted Friday afternoon near Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Centre for Whale Research released this photo of J-35, in the foreground, chasing salmon with her pod on Saturday. "Telephoto digital images taken from shore show that this mother whale appears to be in good physical condition following her record-setting ordeal".

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"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", Balcomb said.

Scientists believe the carcass will be hard to locate at the bottom of the sea.

The heartbreaking story of an orca whale mother who has been carrying her deceased calfs body with her for more than 1,500 km has come to an end.

CWR said the calf's death underlined the dire state of the Southern Resident community, which faces extinction after failing to raise a viable calf in the past three years.

Biologists concerns now turn to another member of the population, a 4.5-year-old known as J50, who will be monitored over its ailing health.

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