The oldest known orca whale was spotted this past weekend off the coast of British Columbia. Named "Granny," the grand matriarch is estimated to be 103 years-old. So given the extreme lifespan of these creatures, why do we still insist on locking them up in veritable goldfish bowls?
Formally known as J2, the orca was likely born some time around 1911; the estimates of her age are based on studies of the family group that began in the 1970s. Granny's pod is the most studied population of orca whales in the world. The lifespans of wild orcas are typically between 60 to 90 years.
The orca was spotted near Vancouver Island this past weekend as she made her annual visit to her home waters.
"With her age, we're always concerned, you know, whether she's going to come back, you know, for another year. And so everyone's really … you know … it's the first question … is Granny there?" noted Ocean Ecoventure's Simon Pidcock in a CBC article. "And sure enough, she was. She was traveling with the front of the pod with another larger male … so, everyone was pretty excited."