Team gives medication to sick killer whale at sea

Terry Joseph
August 13, 2018

She returned to her family of whales in Canada later that year and in 2013 was seen with her new calf.

NOAA Fisheries says the worldwide team reached 3 1/2-year-old orca known as J50 Thursday in the waters near Washington state's San Juan Island. She was last seen off the northwest tip of Washington state. Now, she still holds her baby dearly, going on for more than two weeks now.

Michael Milstein, a spokesman with NOAA Fisheries, told KIRO that researchers with Fisheries and Ocean Canada also spotted another member of the same pod on Wednesday.

In this Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, Southern Resident killer whale J50 and her mother, J16, swim off the west coast of Vancouver Island near Port Renfrew, B.C. J50 is the sick whale that a team of experts are hoping to save by giving her antibiotics or feeding her live salmon at sea.

The last time scientists rescued a killer whale in the region was in 2002 when a northern resident killer whale known as Springer was found swimming alone in Puget Sound. She was still holding her dead calf, marking day 17 of her "tour of grief".

This is the only way to restore balance to the fragile ecosystems where killer whales live so that their food supply will be replenished and their species can once again thrive.

We humans are compassionate animals, partly because we're good at spotting cause-and-effect relationships.

'The baby was so newborn it didn't have blubber.

Thornton said there are no current plans to intervene in the case of J35.

Unsurprisingly, given their neuroanatomy, orcas live in tight-knit matrilineal pods that are led by mothers, aunties and grandmothers - female orcas have the longest post-menopausal life span of any animal we know of besides humans. It is that simple.

'So, they must be grieving, too, ' she said.

It's reportedly not uncommon for killer whales to carry their dead calves for a week or so.

They said the practice of postmorten attentive behaviour (PAB) could be because individuals had failed "to recognise or accept that an offspring or companion has died".

The youngest of the group, the southern resident killer whale that's known to marine scientists as J50 hasn't been seen for days, and even before she vanished, experts were anxious about her deteriorating health. She's probably lost two more in the past decade.

Scientists and researchers are in a race against time, struggling to save an ailing 3-year-old killer whale named Scarlet which has gone missing.

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They're not getting enough of the large, fatty Chinook salmon that make up their main diet.

Female orcas have been having pregnancy problems because of nutritional stress linked to lack of salmon.

'On average we expect a few calves born each year.

Brad Hanson of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says hard conditions have prevented the teams from collecting breath and fecal samples but they are hoping weather conditions improve by Sunday.

"I am gravely concerned for the health and mental well being of J35". "So we basically have to get within five metres of the whale", Hanson said.

The breath droplets will be analyzed for possible pathogens. But the whale did not smell as bad on Saturday.

People from around the world are following the trials of the southern resident orca clan, down to only 75 animals.

Several groups on Wednesday said the loss of the calf highlights the need for quick action.

A statewide task force he formed has been meeting since May to come up with recommendations. A final report is due in November. That data has documented orcas that declined and then disappeared.

The fish are being delivered by truck from a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife hatchery for loading into a tote on the Lummi Nation's boat.

The group will prioritize short-term and long-term actions, many of which are certain to focus on recovering the prized salmon that the fish-eating whales like to eat. 'We have to address the issue of salmon restoration, wild salmon particularly, ' Balcomb said.

"The facts remain that other whales that have been in this condition have not survived".

Individual whales are also identified by unique markings or variations in their fin shapes, and each whale is given a number and name.

From the Center for Whale Research.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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