SEATTLE (AP) — Scientists say an orca who raised worldwide concern when she carried her dead calf for 17 days and more than 1,000 miles almost two years ago is pregnant.
The Seattle Times reports Southall Environmental Associates scientist John Durban and marine mammal research director for the nonprofit SR3 Holly Fearnbach recently finished recording drone images of the endangered southern residents and discovered pregnancies amid the J, K, and L pods.
According to SR3, whale pregnancies typically last 17-18 months.
Pregnancies are not unusual but Tahlequah's pregnancy carries special meaning for a region that grieved the death of her calf along with her.
The southern residents are struggling to survive, and most pregnancies are not successful.
SR3 says the unsuccessful pregnancies are due to lack of food and nutrition and there are only 73 whales in population.