The world’s oldest known killer whale, known as Granny, has died. She was last spotted on 12 October in the Haro Strait – but scientists have now lost hope that they will ever see her again.
Estimated to be 106 years old, researchers have studied her since 1971 when they estimated she was 60 years old and gave her the official name of J2. She was the focal point of a recent BBC documentary that followed biologists’ study of her clan of orcas, an effort to unravel an evolutionary mystery. Experts have been studying whales in the North Pacific Ocean, called the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) since the early 1970s. Granny is said to be the matriarch of the group.
Her presence stunned scientists because killer whales, or orcas, typically live to between the age of 60 and 80 in the wild.