Granny, the world’s oldest killer whale, has reportedly died at the age of 105.
Granny was born one year before the Titanic’s maiden voyage. In 1971, she came to the attention of researchers who were stunned by her longevity; Granny, then 60 years old, was looking great despite having already exceeded the killer whale life expectancy by 10 years.
Granny, pictured in 2014, even outlived her son, who reportedly died at approximately 60.
Researchers kept tabs on the whale for the next several decades but reportedly lost touch with Granny in October of 2016. Now they say it’s likely they’ll never see her again.
“She is officially missing from the Southern Resident Killer Whale population,” said leading orca expert Dr. Ken Balcomb. “With regret we now consider her deceased.”
Professor Darren Croft from the University of Exeter remarked, “it was inevitable that this day was going to come but it is very sad news and a further blow to this population.”
According to the BBC, Granny’s group of whales has been suffering due to dwindling numbers of salmon in the region. The population currently stands at just 78.
Many have pointed out that Granny’s lifespan is somewhat of a rebuttal to SeaWorld’s claim that orcas live, at most, 29 years.
News of Granny’s death has garnered plenty of comments online.
To learn more about Granny – and what makes her special – check out the video below.