'Grieving' mother dolphin seen carrying around her dead calf for days
A "grieving" mother dolphin was spotted carrying her deceased calf around a New Zealand bay, prompting wildlife officials to ask boaters to give the animal space.
The female bottlenose dolphin was first seen carrying the calf, believed to have been stillborn, in the Bay of Islands on Jan. 29, according to the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DoC).
The organization said the dolphin still displayed "strong maternal bond behavior" with her dead calf, including carrying it on her back and vocalizing on it, and asked those spending time on the bay to respect the devastated creature.
"The mother is grieving and needs space and time to do this," the DoC said in a statement. "The Bay of Islands is a busy place in summer with a lot of activity in and around the water. This female needs everyone on the water to give her the extra space and respect she needs whilst she copes with her loss."
The female has at times been split up from her group, "leaving her vulnerable," the organization warned. "She has dropped the calf frequently as she tried to swim, and then circles back to retrieve it," it added.
In August 2018, a grieving mother orca gained global attention after she carried around her dead calf for an "unprecedented" two weeks before finally releasing its body.