Can you guess how old this majestically spry orca is? Here's a hint: her nickname is “Granny.”
Scientifically identified as J2, “Granny” is believed to be the world's oldest orca at 105 years, based on historical sightings. Despite her age she's still as playful and energetic as ever. Her leaps were most recently captured by Orca Network photographer Heather MacIntyre off the coast of San Juan. MacIntyre told The Dodo that she hopes these pictures spark an awareness in whale conservation efforts. “Moments like this are bittersweet. These whales are dying because they don't have enough to eat. People don't realize that if we don't do something to protect their food supply, we're not going to see them anymore. They'll all be dead in 20 years.”
Overfishing of salmon—the whales' main food source—is one of the lead causes of orca death. Granny has survived this long because of her resourcefulness in finding nutritious alternatives, but she can't do it forever. MacIntyre continues to praise the elder orca's endurance, while offering a realistic forewarning. She says: “Granny has seen the days of 100 pound salmon. Now, with the salmon disappearing, she could be the last hope. We don't know how long she's going to live. I hope we can show the same compassion for her family that she does by taking action to protect them.”
Find out what you can do to keep Granny and her orca family healthy and happy on Orca Network's website.
All images via Nature's Keeper Photography.