A heartwarming story and rare natural event taking place off the coast of South Africa is stunning whale watchers and researchers alike. A southern right whale cow appears to have adopted a lone, orphaned calf.
The mother whale already has one calf of her own and is now caring for two. Nursing whales usually do not accept orphaned calves because caring for one calf is an immense task already. Furthermore, southern right whales off the South African coast will soon be on their month-long journey to their feeding grounds in Antarctica – a dangerous trip.
Even though the mother had rejected the orphaned calf at first, the group was spotted swimming and playing together a few days later. According to the tour company observing these right whales by plane, all three individuals looked healthy. Without the rich milk of his/her foster-mother the orphaned calf’s chances of survival probably would have been slim.
Whales and dolphins are known to be highly social, sometimes forming superpods of 1,000 individuals or more. These wide-ranging communities, or societies, are built upon complex structures. They are exhibiting complex behaviours such as cooperation, deception. We know other examples from some dolphin societies where groups will stay with injured or sick individuals, even physically supporting them to the surface if necessary so that they can breathe.
WDC believes some whales and dolphins clearly even have their own cultures.
WDC is actively campaigning all over the world to have the freedoms that whales and dolphins deserve recognized at an international level.
Join us and sign the Declaration of rights for whales and dolphins.