103-year-old orca still swimming


This video is called Amazing Orca Killer Whales In The Wild [Full Nature Wildlife Documentary].

From Wildlife Extra:

An orca called Granny swims into the record books

Just in time for Canada’s Mother’s Day last Sunday an orca named J2 – more commonly known as Granny – arrived in the waters between Point Roberts in Washington State, USA, and East Point on Saturna Island in British Columbia, reports The Province newspaper. This was not unusual as J-Pod – the name researchers have given this group of orcas – would normally be expected in the area. What did excite Captain Simon Pidcock of Ocean EcoVentures in Cowichan Bay was the continuing appearance of Granny because she is believed to be 103 years old. She is the world’s oldest known orca and has lived far in excess of the average lifespan of 60 to 80 years for a wild animal.

There was no doubt the orca was Granny, according to Pidcock. He recognises the senior cetacean by her saddle patch, a distinctive white patch each whale has behind its dorsal fin. “They’re like our fingerprints,” he said.

Granny is also recognisable because of a half-moon-shaped notch on the trailing side of her dorsal fin.

Granny is one of the southern resident group of orcas that inhabit the coastal waters from Haida Gwaii, on the north coast of British Columbia, to Northern California for about eight months of the year. Michael Harris, executive director of Pacific Whale Watch Association, which has members in both the US and Canada, said J-Pod had been spotted off the Russian River in Northern California just over a week before.

“The thing I found really interesting is that she’s in the shape to travel, to make the trek she just did with J-Pod,” said Harris. “That’s 800 miles in not even eight days. It’s amazing.”

She appears healthy because of the lack of a “peanut head,” which Pidcock said is a divot-like depression around the animal’s blow hole which appears when they are malnourished. Her endurance and healthy appearance may come from feasting on recent big chinook salmon runs near the Columbia River.

Granny’s birth date of 1911 is an extrapolation by researchers based on her offspring.

She currently has a great-grandchild travelling in J-Pod. Pidcock said researchers also determine age based on the size of the whales, and Granny’s current bulk can be compared to photographic images taken of her in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

The oldest orcas in captivity are both about 50 years old, according to the Pacific Whale Watch Association, and belong to the northern and southern resident groups that travel through the Pacific Northwest.

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