Video: Grieving Dolphin Mother Carries Her Dead Calf
A dolphin was spotted off the coast of Dana Point this week laboring to carry a dead calf on its dorsal fin.
The captain of the whale-watching tour boat Dave Anderson writes that this is the first time he has ever seen anything like it, "I believe this calf has been dead for many days, possibly weeks. You can see the flesh is decaying. In my nearly twenty years on the water whale watching I have never seen this behavior. Nor have I ever seen anything quite as moving as this mother who refuses to let go of her poor calf."
Anderson said half of calves don't live until their second birthday, because of predators or disease. The family unit for dolphins is the mother and child, so he assumes that the dolphin carrying the calf was its mother. He speculated that the mother may have initially put the ailing calf on her back so that it could keep breathing. There were a few other dolphins on either side of the dolphin carrying the calf, so one passenger noted that it ended up looking a little bit like a marine funeral procession.
The dolphin was spotted an hour later by another boat still carrying the calf, according to Anderson. (h/t LA Observed)