Scientists give medicine to sick killer whale near Washington State

Scientists give medicine to sick killer whale near Washington State

"Response teams today reached J Pod in Canadian waters and followed them into US waters near San Juan Island".

In a media update Thursday morning, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) confirmed that permits are being issued to inject the ailing southern resident orca with antibiotics.

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

If the plan goes ahead, J50 would be given unmedicated fish to see if feeding is feasible and gauge her response.

The next step is to determine whether the teams will move forward with feeding J50, who is "very skinny and small".

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

As National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries (NOAA) spokesman Michael Milstein reportedly stated, "Everything is on the table".

The whales prefer Chinook salmon but many of those runs are endangered or threatened.

From the Center for Whale Research. A King County research vessel drove alongside, also carrying fish, to provide support.

University of Washington scientist Deborah Giles said she was heartbroken for what is happening with the mom and child. It wasn't clear whether she had been eating. "To us, she is still a critical whale", Haulena said. Moreover, she expressed her worry over the nutrition of the orca. "That is very good news", he said.

The Southern Resident population has reduced to 75 animals, and has not had a successful birth in three years.

"This is a novel undertaking", Hanson said. "The future of the population", the NOAA biologist said.

They also face overlapping threats from toxic pollution and noise and disturbances from boats.

A mourning mother killer whale, or commonly known as orca, has captured the hearts of everyone when she carried her dead calf in late July.

USA and Canadian officials acknowledged Thursday that they're concerned that J35's apparent grieving process could prevent her from foraging, but they have no plans to intervene at this point to remove the dead calf.

The orca was last seen off the coast of Washington on Wednesday.

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

However, as much as people want to intervene on the scene, scientists suggest leaving the mom orca and her dead calf alone. Researchers will first perform a health assessment on J50 before deciding whether or not to administer any medication.

An worldwide 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 her antibiotics or feeding her live salmon at sea.

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

Brad Hanson, a US research biologist, said the whales were too far out to sea previously for the treatment and assessment team to reach them from Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands.

The task force is considering a range of efforts, from increasing hatchery production of salmon, training more private boats to help respond to oil spills, and prioritizing areas where important habitat can be restored.