Published: Sun, August 12, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Scientists concerned about endangered orca still pushing body of her calf

Scientists concerned about endangered orca still pushing body of her calf

She was fed live salmon in the pen.

J50, the ailing 3 1/2-year-old orca, was seen along with her mother, J16.

The whale known as J50 is underweight and may have an infection.

Teams of whale experts are racing out to sea to help an ailing young killer whale spotted between the US and Canada.

"We're obviously concerned, and monitoring the situation", Brad Hanson, a wildlife biologist at NOAA, said during a status call with the media. NOAA would apply for the feeding permit if conditions are right, said Lynne Barre, NOAA Fisheries' recovery coordinator for the whales. The salmon-feeding plan is still under review. One by one, crews aboard a boat belonging to the Lummi Nation, an American Indian tribe, sent the plump salmon into a turquoise tube and then into the water. Their movements are closely tracked and photographed by researchers, whale watchers and fans.

Veterinarians who are racing out to try to assess J50, the sick whale, will decide whether to give her antibiotics using either a dart injector or a long pole syringe.

Mr Hanson said Springer's case was different because she was isolated. It wasn't clear whether she had been eating.

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"Even if her family is foraging for and sharing fish with her, J35 can not be getting the. nutrition she needs to regain any body-mass loss that would have naturally occurred during the gestation of her fetus and also additional loss of nutrition during these weeks of mourning", she said.

J50 is breathing normally, taking deep dives and keeping up with her group, so respiratory disease is not as high of a concern, he said.

An worldwide team has been waiting for the chance to get close to the female killer whale to help her, including possibly giving her antibiotics or feeding her live salmon at sea.

"It is very possible that she has succumbed at this point and that we may never see her again", Rowles told reporters Tuesday.

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

Response teams were able to administer a dose of antibiotics to the young Southern Resident orca they say is at risk of dying. "The future of the population", the NOAA biologist said.

An orca mother off the coast of Canada continues to hold on to her dead calf, even as its carcass decomposes on top of her. Scientists are anxious about her and will watch her but don't have plans to help her or remove the calf. She was last seen Thursday still carrying the body.

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We are saddened to report that a baby Southern Resident killer whale (SRKW) died a short time after it was born near.

'(The mother) is bonded to (the calf) and she doesn't want to let it go.

Center for Whale Research's Ken Balcomb estimates the orca swam while carrying the calf for about a thousand miles since the baby died.

A team of whale experts has injected an ailing killer whale with antibiotics in a rare emergency effort to save her.

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

This is likely due to a sharp decline in the killer whales' main food source - the Chinook salmon - as well as contamination of the waters that they live in.

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