Killer whale finally lets dead calf go

Tahlequah is no longer carrying her dead calf

J35, also known as Tahlequah, was seen Saturday off San Juan Island without the calf, the Center for Whale Research said in a web post.

"Her tour of grief is now over and her behaviour is remarkably frisky".

"J35 frolicked past my window today with other J pod whales, and she looks vigorous and healthy", Balcomb wrote in an email.

She finally abandoned the carcass as it decomposed, the AP reports.

The whales have been struggling because of a lack of salmon, and J35's calf died soon after birth on July 24. Researchers may not get the chance to perform a necropsy.

"The baby's carcass was sinking and being repeatedly retrieved by the mother, who was supporting it on her forehead and pushing it in choppy seas", the CWR said in a statement at the time.

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Both Canada and the United States list the Southern Resident killer whale as endangered. "Telephoto digital images taken from shore show that this mother whale appears to be in good physical condition following her record-setting ordeal".

Experts called her marathon display "unprecedented" for a southern resident killer whale.

While scientists had previously held fears for Tahlequah's health due to not eating, Mr Balcomb confirmed she seemed physically stable.

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.

Still, the newborn's death has larger meaning in the southern resident killer whale population that is so endangered there are only 75 left, with no successful births in three years.

The young, malnourished animal was given a shot of antibiotics earlier this week in hopes of helping it fight an infection.

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