World's Oldest Known Orca Has Likely Died

Posted: Jan 3 2017, 8:03am CST | by , Updated: Jan 3 2017, 8:10am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

World's Oldest Known Orca Considered Dead
Granny, the oldest known killer whale. Credit: KIRO 7 News
 

The killer whale, nicknamed granny, has not been spotted since October 2016, leading researchers to believe that the orca has died

The oldest known killer whale is considered dead, according to Center for Whale Research.

Nicknamed “Granny,” the killer whale was 105 years old, making it the oldest known orca ever. The orca was estimated to have born in 1911, a year before the Titanic demise. 

Granny was spotted in the waters off the north west US and Canada many times over the years. The last sighting was reported on October 12, 2016 as she was swimming north in Haro Strait far ahead of the other southern resident killer whales.

Southern resident killer whales or SRKW represent a small population of orcas living inside the Northwester portion of Pacific Ocean. The clan consists of three pods J,K and L. 

“Perhaps other dedicated whale-watchers have seen her since then, but by year’s end she is officially missing from the SRKW population, and with regret we now consider her deceased.” Center for Whale Research said in a statement

The Granny, officially J2, belonged to the J pod of the SRKW population, which makes up of 78 individuals while J pod now contains only 24 killer whales. 

“Granny” has baffled researchers because killer whales usually live around 50 years in the wild. In the captivity, orcas lifespan reduces to  30 years. 

Granny was first spotted in 1971 when it was estimated to be 60 years old. Since then, it has been spotted multiple times. 

Orcas can be identified on an individual basis due to natural markings and the distinctive size and shape of dorsal fin. Granny was distinguishable from its gray saddle-patch behind the dorsal fin.

Southern resident killer whales usually travel about 72 miles in 24 hour period, which means that the Granny has swam around the world around 100 times in her lifetime.

 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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