Mother Orca and her Dead Baby

You may have already read about the orca whale that has been carrying her dead newborn on her nose for days, unable to let the baby go.  Mother and baby are in the in the ocean near Victoria, British Columbia, in the Salish Sea that runs between the Pacific Northwest and Canada. The orca’s pod has moved on, but mother stays with her dead baby, carrying it, prodding it to swim.

This story is oddly heartbreaking to me. The pod has about 75 whales in it, but no surviving births since 2015. Effectively, if the pod can’t reproduce, they are extinct.

We like to think of whales and other mammals as lesser beings than we humans, but here is a mother grieving her baby just as we do. Eventually the baby will sink, and the mother will not be able to retrieve the body and bring it to the surface. The baby will be gone, and the mother orca alone unless she can find her pod. That moment feels harder to me, even, than what she is doing now.

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