The New York Times reports that on 24th of July a newborn calf passed away just 30 minutes after its birth. Tahlequah, a wild Orca J35 was swimming for a few minutes and trying to keep her baby’s body from sinking in the Salish Sea.

When the Center for Whale Research heard that a wild orca had given birth, they rushed to the place to track the calf’s birth. By the time they arrived, the newborn calf had passed away. The photographs show the orca’s grief. Her attempts to retrieve the body show her emotional distress.

Ken Balcomb, the founder of the Center for Whale Research, announced that a group of female orcas gathered together at sunset, staying in a circle for more than 2 hours. He added that it seemed like a ceremony done by the mother.

By Saturday, the wild orca was carrying the body of her baby.

The loss of the newborn calf is a part of a story of devastation, which impacts these animals. L Pod, K Pod and J Pod that reside in the waters off the Pacific Northwest constitute the southern resident killer whales.

Recently, the lack of sufficient Chinook salmon that the wild orcas eat and the destruction of the environment have led to this loss.

According to the Center for Whale Research, in the last 2 decades, nearly 75 % of the endangered species have not survived. In addition, in the last 3 years, 100 % of the pregnancies did not succeed to provide offspring.

By June 2018, the southern resident killer whale group consisted of 34 orcas in the L Pod, 23 in the J Pod and 18 orcas in the K Pod. If these orcas are not protected, people will have to let them go of.

The ecosystem of Tahlequah is at risk as a result of people’s activities, like harvesting, pollution, overfishing and damming rivers.