This is truly a heartbreaking story that demonstrates the high emotions of these beautiful creatures...

Killer whales are truly a remarkable species...

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But sadly, there is a horrible misconception surrounding these beautiful creatures.

These whales, who are commonly known as orcas, are very popular in captivity.

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Since the 1960's when the world's first-ever killer whale was captured and placed into captivity in California, the species has become one of the most popular and high-demand marine mammals for aquariums.

Their high intelligence made them easy to train...

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And it didn't take long for organizations such as SeaWorld to start using them in live performative shows.

Over the years, SeaWorld have built their brand based on killer whales...

And Shamu the orca is now world-famous.

But things behind the scenes most certainly aren't as happy as they look.

The proclaimed 2013 documentary Blackfish outlined the horrors that go on behind the captivity of killer whales and other marine life... and SeaWorld certainly has a lot to answer for.

Killer whales and other marine mammals should not be kept in captivity.

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These poor whales spend their entire lives in huge tanks which causes them great stress and frustration. Just imagine spending decades in a bathtub. That's exactly how it feels for these unfortunate killer whales.

And even though killer whales are known for their gentle and intelligent natures...

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Being cooped up in captivity has caused them to lash out over the years and numerous SeaWorld trainers have been severely injured.

In February 2010, SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed by Tilikum - one of the park's largest killer whales.

Dawn's death not only sparked outrage over the captivity of killer whales, but it also created a sense of fear over these "unpredictable" and "terrifying" animals.

It's important to note that there aren't any recorded killer whale attacks on humans out in the wild...

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And this alarming behavior simply comes from being kept in a plastic tank for their entire lives.

Killer whales are actually very emotional and social animals...

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And as Blackfish showed us, when a calf is taken away from its mother in captivity the females are known to grieve and mourn over the loss of their baby. It is utterly devastating.

And this has also been proven in the wild.

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Researchers at the SR3 Sealife Response, Rehabilitation, and Research have been tracking a pregnant killer whale who has been spotted regularly around the San Juan Island.

She has been named Tahlequah...

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And 2 years ago, the mother raised global concern when she lost her calf.

She carried the body of her dead baby for seventeen days as she just couldn't let go.

She refused to let her baby sink to the bottom of the ocean or be eaten by predators, so she balanced it's body on the top of her head as she followed her pod.

This was heartbreaking for the researchers to see...

And it just proved even more how emotionally attached these whales are to one another.

When Tahlequah eventually let go of her baby...

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It took her up until this very month to finally move on... because she is now pregnant again!

It's still very early days...

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According to scientists John Durban, senior scientist of Southall Environmental Associates, and Holly Fearnbach, marine mammal research director of SR3, the expectant mom is quite a while away from her baby being born.

The gestation period for orcas is typically eighteen months, and families stick together for life...

But southern resident whales such as Tahlequah are struggling to survive. Southern resident orcas are now down to a population of just seventy-two, and most pregnancies are sadly not successful.

Fearnbach and Durban stressed that humans can help contribute to the whales’ survival...

This is by respecting their space and giving them peace and quiet to allow them to use sound to hunt.

In a press release, the pair said:

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"Studies by our colleagues at the University of Washington have shown that these reproductive failures are linked to nutrition and access to their Chinook salmon prey. So, we hope folks on the water can give the Southern Residents plenty of space to forage at this important time."

It's almost impossible to predict Tahlequah's pregnancy at the moment...

So all we can do is hope that the whale will be able to meet her baby very soon. Keep on scrolling to read about Canada passing the "Free Willy" bill that bans dolphin and whale captivity...