A killer whale named Tahlequah, also known as J35, who swam with her dead calf for 17 days in what appeared as an act of grieving, recently became a mother again, the Whale Research Center announced.
In a news release, the center said two orcas were seen happily swimming within their pod in the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca, between Washington and Vancouver Island, over the weekend.
Tahlequah made headlines in 2018 when she swam over 1,000 miles of ocean with her dead calf’s body. It died a few hours after birth but she carried it to keep it from sinking for over two weeks.
The Whale Research states that both Tahlequah and her new calf named J57 appear healthy, saying, “She was still capable of producing a live calf after an approximate eighteen-month gestation! Hooray!”
“Her new calf appeared healthy and precocious, swimming vigorously alongside its mother in its second day of free-swimming life,” the release added.
Researchers believe J57 was born on September 4 because its dorsal fin appeared upright when they spotted it. They explained that this development happens around two days after birth since a calf’s dorsal fin is usually folded over in the womb.
With the birth of J57, the endangered Southern Resident orca population has now risen to 73, slowly but gradually restoring their species, the Whale Research Center noted.