Medication given to sick killer whale at sea to save her

13 August, 2018, 03:28 | Author: Bridget Leonard
  • Katy Foster  NOAA Fisheries

A grieving orca whose calf died last month just minutes after it was born was seen this week still carrying the tiny whale's body around the Pacific Northwest, more than 17 days later.

Researchers told The Seattle Times that they have no plans to take the body away from J35 even as they worry about her health.

J50/Scarlet Update: Determined teams from Fisheries and Oceans Canada spotted Jpod again today (8/8), this time in U.S.

Another female in the group, a 3½-year-old whale named J50, has also been in peril, and government officials are preparing an emergency plan to save her from starving to death. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had a permit for such efforts in US waters.

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.

For now, the unprecedented attempt to feed live salmon to a free-swimming killer whale would have to wait.

J35 was first spotted July 24 carrying the calf on her nose and in her mouth.

No intervention is planned, she said, but they will monitor her condition.

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.


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

The carcass is "surprisingly intact", she said.

The idea of removing the calf from her mother is "not on the table", according to Brad Hanson, a wildlife biologist with NOAA. The meteorological conditions, the location and the still unknown cause of whale health problems are among the factors taken into account. Scientists are anxious about her and will watch her but don't have plans to help her or remove the calf. By doing so, you will help ensure that there are plenty of fish in the sea for the animals who actually need to eat these aquatic creatures to survive (unlike us).

They have called for the removal of four dams on the Lower Snake River to restore salmon runs.

The fish-eating orcas that frequent the inland waters of Washington state are down to 75 animals, and there hasn't been a successful birth since 2015. The Center for Whale Researchers confirmed that she was still seen pushing the now-deteriorating corpse of her newborn calf.

An global team of experts has been waiting for an opportunity to get close to the female killer whale so they can carry out an emergency plan that includes giving it antibiotics or feeding it live salmon at sea.

Experts say Springer's case was different because she was isolated.

It was hearing initial recommendations focused on three main threats to the orcas: lack of food, toxic contamination and boat noise and disturbance. She returned to her family of whales in Canada later that year and was seen with her calf in 2013.

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