At this age Granny is the oldest known orca in all the oceans, but that isn't slowing her down, reports The Province. On Mother's Day weekend, the killer whale made her annual return to her home waters off Washington state.
"She looked really healthy, still going strong," Captain Simon Pidcock of EcoVentures told The Province. "We're really excited to have her back."
Pidcock says he has spotted the pod matriarch "thousands of times" during his career as a whale-watching tour guide, but always worries whether Granny will come back each year. This time the captain caught sight of the 103-year-old orca during a tour, giving passengers a peek at the renowned whale.
Granny stills holds the position of her pod's top matriarch. As part of her duties, the whale helps to rear the pod's young orcas, even babysitting the calves while their parents are out hunting.
The average lifespan for a wild orca whale is 60 to 80 years, while captive orcas live an average of 50 years. According to Discovery News, Granny was once caught in 1967 for use in a sea life park. Ultimately, she was deemed too old for captivity and released. Forty-seven years later, Granny continues to put on her own show each spring for the people of the Pacific Northwest.