Despite being a 103-year-old great-grandma, the orca named J2 -- or, more affectionately, Granny -- is in great shape. In little over a week, Granny and her pod have traveled 800 miles.This is all part of a campaign to stop the catching and keeping of killer whales in captivity, where they have a short life, without the exercise that killer whales in the wild get, and without their normal social interactions.
This weekend, Granny was spied swimming off the coast of Canada, after a trek up from northern California. The centenarian cetacean can be identified by a white marking on her back and a notch in her fin.
Michael Harris, the director of Pacific Whale Watch Association, tells Canadian newspaper The Province that her life span is an estimate based on her children’s ages. Whale experts have also confirmed Granny in photos dating back to the 30s.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, wild female orcas usually live for about 50 or 60 years -- although killer whales as old as 90 are not unheard of. SeaWorld, however, contends that “No one knows for sure how long killer whales live.”
While I'm not usually much of an animal rights activist, I think that keeping Orcas in captivity is particularly questionable, given the huge amount of space they require, their relatively high intelligence and social nature. While I enjoy a good killer whale show as much as the next guy, maybe we could give up keeping them, and settle for filming them in the wild.
Or we could arrange a trade of hostages. In exchange for a couple of killer whales for the marine show tanks, perhaps we could trade them a couple of politicians.
And I have one question for Granny. How do you keep your teeth in such good shape for so long?
Thanks to Mary, via Facebook.