An endangered southern resident killer whale that has been grieving her dead calf since it died shortly after its birth on July 24th was spotted near Victoria Thursday.
Mark Malleson, the senior zodiac skipper and wildlife guide at Prince of Whales Whale Watching, spotted J35 twice Thursday.
In the morning she was making circuits around the San Juan Islands, and was still pushing her calf along with her.
She was last seen around East Sooke heading towards Sheringham point, moving towards the open ocean with the dead calf.
“She was first lagging behind the group [this morning]… but now [her pod] are all swimming along with her,” said Malleson.
Malleson was the person who reported the calf to the Center for Whale Research, and thought at first it was alive.
“It’s tough just watching her… when I first saw it I thought it was a brand new calf so I called the centre to let them know, ” said Malleson.
“They said to me “mark when you saw it was it alive” and I was confused.”
Experts say other orcas have carried dead calves, but never for this long of a period.
The story has gained international attention, as news agencies such as the New York Times have picked up the story.
There are only 75 southern resident killer whales left. The calf was the first in three years to be born to the population.
READ MORE: Southern resident killer whale still carrying calf’s body a week after it died