Heartbreaking video captures a mother dolphin pushing the body of her dead calf

This is the sad moment a mother dolphin was seen carrying her dead calf on her back in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

The footage was captured by Margarita Samsonova, 29, an environmental content creator, while accompanying an AIMM research team on an expedition off the coast of Albufeira.

They had been in the water for about five hours and were returning to port when they saw approximately 25 dolphins in a pod displaying strange behaviors, then noticed the mother carrying her dead calf.

Margarita, who lives in Lisbon, believes this is the only time the behavior has been witnessed in Europe and it represented a unique insight into animals experiencing grief.

The 29-year-old, who studied Zoology at Oxford Brookes University, said: “Instantly, I cried, it was really heartbreaking and painful to see this.”

“At the same time, it was really exciting, because this was something new, we realized this was something that had never been documented before.”

AIMM wrote on its website: “We witnessed dolphin behaviour, very rare in this region and recorded it on camera!”

The dolphins were seen in waters off the North Island of New Zealand, near the Bay of Islands.

The dolphins were seen in waters off the North Island of New Zealand, near the Bay of Islands.

The footage was captured by Margarita Samsonova, 29, an environmental content creator, while accompanying an AIMM research team on an expedition off the coast of Albufeira.

The footage was captured by Margarita Samsonova, 29, an environmental content creator, while accompanying an AIMM research team on an expedition off the coast of Albufeira.

The footage was captured by Margarita Samsonova, 29, an environmental content creator, while accompanying an AIMM research team on an expedition off the coast of Albufeira.

An investigation team said they noticed the mother with her dead calf after seeing about 25 dolphins behaving unusual.

An investigation team said they noticed the mother with her dead calf after seeing about 25 dolphins behaving unusual.

An investigation team said they noticed the mother with her dead calf after seeing about 25 dolphins behaving unusual.

Margarita said: ‘The dolphins were behaving very unusual, jumping higher than normal and making very strange vocalisations.

“Then we noticed a mother with a calf, and the calf was dead, and it was clear that she was trying to bring the baby to the surface.

“It really seemed like a moment of grief expressed by both the mother and other dolphins.”

The behavior seen in the video continued for a few days, as the mother was observed doing the same thing for several days afterwards.

Many other sightings of the same behavior were reported up to more than ten days after the initial sighting.

In the past, similar incidents have occurred around the world. In 2019, a mourning bottlenose dolphin was seen carrying the body of his dead calf for days, struggling to come to terms with the youngster’s death.

It was seen in waters off the North Island of New Zealand, near the Bay of Islands, according to conservation authorities.

The mother was thought to have had a stillbirth, but had clung to the body.

In early 2019, a study by a non-profit organization revealed that whales and dolphins will hold “vigils” for their dead.

The animals will cling to the lifeless bodies of their young for days, trying to keep them safe from predators.

A mourning bottlenose dolphin carried the body of her dead calf for days in 2019, struggling to come to terms with the youngster's death.

A mourning bottlenose dolphin carried the body of her dead calf for days in 2019, struggling to come to terms with the youngster's death.

A mourning bottlenose dolphin carried the body of her dead calf for days in 2019, struggling to come to terms with the youngster’s death.

And in 2021, the camera captured the heartbreaking moment a mother dolphin refused to release her dead calf.

The mother dolphin, whose name is Cracker, lives at the Dolphin Discovery Center in Bunbury, Western Australia.

Alan Simm, who recorded the video, is a volunteer at the center and was asked to help document and identify the mother dolphin.

In the tragic clip, Cracker can be seen launching himself at his little calf, bringing it to the surface and swinging it on his snout before pushing it back down.

Jan Tierney, conservation manager for the Dolphin Discovery Centre, told Daily Mail Australia that Cracker had given birth to four pups in the waters off Bunbury.

First was Cookie, followed by Anzac, then another who tragically got entangled in a fishing line when she was a year old, followed by her dead newborn calf.

Bottlenose dolphins will carry their dead calves for days before harsh conditions force them to abandon the calf and return to the rest of the pod.  Pictured: Cracker mourning the loss of her calf in 2021

Bottlenose dolphins will carry their dead calves for days before harsh conditions force them to abandon the calf and return to the rest of the pod.  Pictured: Cracker mourning the loss of her calf in 2021

Bottlenose dolphins will carry their dead calves for days before harsh conditions force them to abandon the calf and return to the rest of the pod. Pictured: Cracker mourning the loss of her calf in 2021

Ms. Tierney said Cracker’s behavior in the video was a natural part of the grieving process for bottlenose dolphins.

“If the shoreline is clear, the mother will carry the calf, pushing it to the surface to breathe, and then pushing it back into the water to hide it again,” he explained.

Ms Tierney said bottlenose dolphins will carry their dead calves for a few days.

“What we hope for is bad weather that makes it too difficult for the mother to continue carrying her young.

“She gives them a few days to cry and then she goes back to the other mother dolphins,” he said.

The endangered orca clung to her dead calf for a total of 17 days in 2018, swimming 1,000 miles while balancing her newborn precariously on her forehead.

The endangered orca clung to her dead calf for a total of 17 days in 2018, swimming 1,000 miles while balancing her newborn precariously on her forehead.

The endangered orca clung to her dead calf for a total of 17 days in 2018, swimming 1,000 miles while balancing her newborn precariously on her forehead.

It’s a similar story among whales, who have previously been seen holding their dead calves.

In 2018, an endangered killer whale named J35, or Tahlequah, clung to her dead calf for more than two weeks and swam 1,000 miles.

The baby was so newborn that it had no fat. He kept sinking and the mother would bring him up to the surface,” said Ken Balcomb, senior scientist at the Center for Whaling Research on San Juan Island, which closely follows individual whales.

‘It is awful. This is an animal that is a sentient being,” said Deborah Giles, director of science and research for the nonprofit Wild Orc.

WHY SCIENTISTS THINK WHALES AND DOLPHINS LUTAN

Whales and dolphins have been seen ‘carrying’ or caring for their dead calves several times.

These creatures may be in mourning or have not accepted or acknowledged that the offspring or mate has died.

Scientists do not yet know if aquatic mammals really recognize death and are looking to conduct more research on this topic.

In 2016, scientists found evidence that whales and dolphins hold ‘vigils’ for their dead.

They analyzed several cases in which mammals clung to the bodies of dead compatriots and laid vigil over a dead companion.

At the time, they said the most likely explanation was mourning.

The study collected observations from 14 events.

They found that mothers often carried their dead calves high above the water, often flanked by friends.

In many cases, the dead hatchlings were decomposed, indicating that they had been held for a long time.

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