Oldest Killer Whale in the World Dead: Age and Facts About ‘Granny’

Oldest Killer Whale in the World Dead: Age and Facts About ‘Granny’ Formation Pod 2290 mliu92 / Flickr cc

The oldest killer whale in the world recently passed away, and many people want to know more about her.

Not many people can say they have met a person who has lived past the age of 100. Not that it isn’t possible, it’s just that someone who lives that long isn’t commonly found. The same goes for animals out and about in the vast ocean.

Oldest Orca Around

According to the Chicago Tribune, the world’s oldest killer whale known as “Granny” or J2 has gone missing. Many suggest that she might have died. Granny was reportedly born around the time the Titanic sank in 1912 and is said to be around 105 years old.

She gained worldwide acclaim when she was the subject of a recent BBC documentary. J2 is featured as the oldest living matriarch of the Southern Resident clan of killer wales in Northwestern America. The documentary, on the other hand, focused on the study of female orcas entering menopause.

Very similar to humans, there are only two other mammals that experience menopause and live past their reproductive years. These are the orcas and the short-finned pilot whales. Orcas, on average, live until the age of 60.

The NY Post reported that Granny was helping her family survive by sharing her knowledge of when and where to find food. Matriarchs usually help their families by guiding foraging pods, taking care of young calves, and feeding bigger males.


Missing And Dead

The last time Granny was seen was on October 12, 2016. She was swimming north in the Haro Strait and was further ahead of her pod. Many killer whale watchers have caught a glimpse of her. However, she was announced officially missing, and presumably dead, by the end of the year.

The official count of Southern Resident killer whales is now down to 78 as of December 31, 2016.

Granny wasn’t the only orca that went missing; there were seven orcas who also shared the same fate. In fact, an 18-year-old male whale was found dead off the British Columbian coast last month.

Canadian officials are still investigating the case and conducting more tests. It was initially noted that the 22-foot whale look like it was struck. Unfortunately, no one is sure if it was from another animal or by a boat.