The world’s oldest known orca whale was recently spotted in Canadian waters, leading her pod up from California into the southern Strait of Georgia, Seattlepi.com reports.
J-2, also known as “Granny,” is believed to be 103 years old. This is impressive considering the average lifespan of a wild orca is between 60 and 80 years, according to Michael Harris, executive director of the Pacific Whale Watch Association.
The elderly whale was seen by Captain Simon Pidcock of Ocean EcoVentures in Cowichan Bay on Friday, May 9. Pidcock told The Province that he was able to identify Granny by a distinctive “half-moon-shaped notch on the trailing side of her dorsal fin.”
“She looked really healthy, still going strong,” Pidcock said. “We’re really excited to have her back.”
Granny is part of the southern resident whale population, which is made up of three pods, or groups, of whales: J, K, and L. Granny is the matriarch of J-pod, which has 25 members.
According to The Province, the southern residents “inhabit the coastal waters from Haida Gwaii to Northern California for about eight months of the year.”
This population of killer whales is known for their long lifespans. A female whale named K7 died in 2008 at the age of 98 and the female L25 is thought to be 85 years old, Harris said in a statement.
At the most recent sighting, Harris told The Province that Granny and her pack (which includes her great-grandchild) had just completed an 800-mile swim from California in less than eight days. “The thing I found really, really interesting is that she’s in the shape to travel, to make the trek she just did with J-Pod,” he said.
Here’s an animation of Granny made in 2012 and posted to Facebook by Teren Photography:
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.