Dead Orca Was Pregnant : Dead orca had full-term fetus, necropsy finds

Updated: December 9, 2014
Dead Orca Was Pregnant : Dead orca had full-term fetus, necropsy finds

Dead orca was pregnant with full-term fetus? Scientists with the Victoria (B.C.) Marine Science Association say a necropsy found that the whale found dead on Vancouver Island was pregnant with a full-term fetus, which may have caused the whale’s death.

The 18-year-old orca J-32, nicknamed Rhapsody, was found dead on Thursday.

“We cannot express how tragic this loss is for this struggling, precariously small, family of resident orcas of the Salish Sea,” wrote the Orca Network on Facebook.

Ken Balcomb with the Center for Whale Research on San Juan Island will attend and assist in the necropsy.

Rhapsody’s own mother died in 1998 when Rhapsody was just 2-years-old.

“She is survived by J22 and her cousins J34 Doublestuf and J38 Cookie, leaving only three survivors of the former J10 matriline, and only 77 members of the Southern Resident Community,” wrote the Orca Network.

Victoria British Columbia television station CHEK-TV reported that the orca’s body washed up on the shores near Comox British Columbia.

A 7-week-old baby orca is believed to have died in October after going missing from its mother.

L120 was the first newborn Southern Resident offspring seen since August 2012, the center said. In February of that year, the body of L86’s second offspring, 3-year old female L112, washed up at Long Beach, Wash. with indications of death by severe acoustic trauma, it said.