08/12/2018: "J35 Is No Longer Carrying Her Dead Calf"
(Orcas & J35 chasing a school of salmon -Ken Balcomb photo)
Ken Balcomb reports that J35 vigorously chased a school of salmon with her pod-mates in mid-Haro Strait in front of the Center for Whale Research for a half mile - no longer carrying the deceased baby that she had carried for at least seventeen days and 1,000 miles. Her tour of grief is now over, and her behavior is remarkably frisky.
Telephoto digital images taken from shore show that this mother whale appears to be in good physical condition (no evidence of “peanut-head”) 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; and, now we 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.