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Whale Experts 'Cautiously Optimistic' That Once Starving Grandma Orca Will Survive

A grandmother orca who was on death's door late last year is still alive, although her health remains in a precarious state, according to researchers who spotted her swimming off the western Canadian coast last week. This past December and January, researchers tracking the J pod — one of three pods of orca whales (Orcinus orca) that swim along the westerns coasts of the United States and Canada — noticed that a 42-year-old orca matriarch, known as J17, was not looking well.


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