After more than two weeks, orca drops body of her dead calf

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The whale "vigorously chased a school of salmon with her pod-mates in Haro Strait" off Canada's Vancouver Island, the Center for Whale Research said. The mother carried the baby on her head for at least 17 days, in an image of grief that struck an emotional chord worldwide.

Killer whales have been known to carry dead calves for a week, but scientists believe this mother "sets a record".

"J35 frolicked past my window today with other J pod whales, and she looks vigorous and healthy", he told Seattle-based station King 5 in an email. The center said the whale appeared to be in good condition and "her behavior is remarkably frisky".

"There had been reports from brief sightings by whale-watchers two days ago that J35 (Tahlequah) was not pushing the calf carcass in Georgia Strait near Vancouver", researchers said. The calf was born on July 24 near Victoria, but died shortly after being given life.

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The centre says the carcass likely sank to the bottom of the Salish Sea, and researchers may not get a chance to perform a necropsy.

More than two weeks after the death of her baby, a grieving orca whale has released her dead calf's body after carrying it around the Pacific Northwest's waters.

J35 was spotted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada while they were searching for another of the 75 southern resident killer whales, labelled an endangered species in both Canada and the United States.