A FEMALE dolphin has been spotted carrying her dead calf in a heartbreaking scene in New Zealand's Bay of islands this week.

The bottlenose dolphin, first seen carrying the calf on Tuesday, is ''dis[laying strong maternal bond behavior,'' the New Zealand Department of Conservation said in a news release.

The department has urged boaters to give the mourning mother space' 'The mother is grieving and needs space and time to do this,'' senior ranger of biodiversity Catherine Peters said in the statement.

''The Bay of Islands is a busy place in summer with a lot of activity in and around the water. The female needs everyone on the water to give her the extra pace and respect she needs while she copes with the loss.''

The calf was like stillborn. At times, the mother has been spotted dropping the calf, then leaving the rest of the group to go retrieve it.

The department also included a set comprehensive set of guidelines for how people in boats should behave around dolphins.

The situation was reminiscent of Tahlequah, a mother orca  whale off the coast of  British Columbia    who carried her  dead newborn calf   with her for days, balancing the calf and preventing it from sinking into the water.

Tahquah  ultimately released the calf after carrying it for more than two weeks. [Courtesy Huupost]


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