Orcas are notorious for mourning their deceased loved ones by lugging the lifeless bodies around with them for extended periods of time, but a recent incident involving a mother and her late calf has grabbed quite a bit of attention as of late.
Image Credit: CWR
Most of these acts of grief only last for about a week, but in this particular case, the orca mother traveled with the physical remnant of her calf for a total of 17 days, swimming more than 1,000 miles with it along the way.
While far from official, some experts suggest that this timespan could set a record for the longest-known orca-related grievance.
Observers say the body of the dead calf was beginning to decompose just days before the mother parted with it. With that in mind, the circumstances may have impacted the mother’s ability to continue grasping the remnants, resulting in her decision to release it.
Orcas aren’t the only marine animals known for displaying such emotional behavior toward lost loved ones; so too are other species of whale and even various kinds of dolphins. The action underscores the animals’ unwillingness to let go of something they love and speaks to their intelligence.
While we may never fully understand what goes through the animals’ minds during these times of significant loss, we can certainly relate to how it feels to lose someone we love.
These public displays are tear-jerking reminders of how wild animals feel emotions and pain, just like we do.