Wednesday, August 10, 2016

"Granny", oldest known Orca (killer whale)

San Francisco Chronicle/SF Gate/Dianne de Guzman, 8/4/16. "105 year old whale still swimming in the Pacific," includes 10 slides.

Looking forward to wintering
past your city this year.
Image result for Granny orca whale picture
I can still jump
at 105, can you?
The oldest-known living orca whale is still alive and swimming, and was spotted just off the coast of Washington last week. The 105-year-old whale nicknamed "Granny" was seen on July 27 swimming with a few other whales, and seemed to be in "high spirits," according to a whale-sighting report shared by Orca Network.

While it seems impossible that a whale can live up to 105, Granny — also known by her scientific name J2 — has been studied by scientists since the early 1970s. Her age was first deduced by scientists who spotted her in 1971, and it was generally accepted that year that Granny was 60, Michael Harris, executive director of Pacific Whale Watch Association, told SeattlePI in 2014. It has since been stated that there is a 12-year margin of error around her age, possibly making her as young as 90, according to Orca Network.

Granny has continued to be sighted throughout the years, despite an average life expectancy of between 60 and 80 years for wild orcas. Granny, and other older whales in the wild, far outlive whales in captivity who have only been known to live up to (at most) their early 40s, Harris pointed out.  Granny is known by the markings near her dorsal fin. As the Tribune pointed out, Granny was named the honorary mayor of the city of Eastound, located in Washington, in June. Her "mayoral address" can be found hereScroll through the photos above to see Granny when she was sighted in the Strait of Georgia in 2014."

Related article.  Daily Mail news, UK/Sarah Griffiths/8/6/16, includes a location map, and video 38 seconds. "'Granny', the world's oldest Killer whale, is STILL swimming in the Pacific: 105 year old orca was alive before Titanic sank." ....   "Granny is a matriarch of a group called the Southern Resident Killer Whales in the Pacific Ocean. Experts from Ocean EcoVentures Whale Watching were able to identify her thanks to a marking on her dorsal fin, as well as as a half-moon-shaped notch."

Image result for Granny orca whale picture
 Granny, matriarch leader of J-pod clan.
Reference. Wikipedia/"Granny", orca J2.  "Granny, along with several of her descendants, travels in the J pod, a group of about 25 orcas.[10] J pod, along with Pods K and L, are the "J clan", which is part of the southern resident killer whale population. They frequent the inland waters of British Columbia and Washington State in the summer months, but roam from southeast Alaska to central California. They have completed a journey as far as 800 miles in a week.[10]
....   Estimates of lifespans for wild orcas vary. Seaworld says wild lifespans are 30–50 years for females, and 19–30 years for males.[15] These estimates are similar to the estimates from a 2005 study.[16] Marine conservation groups argue that these estimates are low due to the effects of hunting, pollution, and capture on the wild populations, and that natural wild orca lifespans are equivalent to that of humans, with male orcas living up to 75 years and female orcas living up to 80 years).[17] 

Note the photographs. Right. Granny jumping (age 103) from Vancouver Island Outdoor, found on Reharable blog. Left top. Granny swimming from the reference Wikipedia article . Left bottom. Granny's J-pod whale clan and article from Orca Spirit Adventures/The Captain's blog, 2012, "The Resident Orcas Of J-Pod." "Granny is a wealth of knowledge for other family members, and she is active in co-parenting by babysitting and teaching young orca in the family. Granny has no living offspring, but she is the grandmother of Samish (J-14), and a greatgrandmother to 3 other J-pod whales."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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