Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Global team gives medication to sick killer whale at sea

Sandra Phillips | 10 August, 2018, 22:23

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced late Thursday that response teams spotted J50, also known as Scarlet, and the rest of her pod of southern resident killer whales in Canadian waters and followed them into the US near San Juan Island.

Because Tahlequah was pregnant, it is possible she began carrying her deceased calf with an extra boost of lipids in her blubber that could be helping her now, said Dawn Noren, research fishery biologist at NOAA's Northwest Center in Seattle.

The U.S. and Canada have no plans to remove J50 from her pod in order to feed or medicate her, as that would likely cause too much stress to J50 and her pod.

They were able to obtain a breath sample from the juvenile female orca to help assess any infection she might have and they also administered a dose of antibiotics.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told Q13FOX the department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada spotted the whale known as J35 carrying the calf near the tip of Washington's Olympic Peninsula.

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. DFO officials have been working closely with their counterparts at the NOAA to develop a rescue plan.

Worldwide response teams reached J Pod today in Canadian waters and followed them into US waters near San Juan Island. "The challenge for us is that it's about an 80-mile run from Friday Harbor out there in our boats".

"If they're travelling, it's challenging", said Hanson.

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

"Obviously the connection they've formed with this calf is substantial and it's something that we do have to take into account", he said.

"The assumption is she could be fortified like a dolphin", Noren said.

Depending on the conditions, the team could gather samples and treat J50 with antibiotics on the same day, he said.

A killer whale who was spotted pushing the corpse of its short-lived offspring continued to carry her dead calf after 16 days, experts said.

An endangered orca was spotted Wednesday still clinging to her dead and decomposing calf, more than two weeks after her newborn died in what scientists have said is an "unprecedented" showing of grief.

"You can look at that as mourning behaviour, there are a lot of different theories out there".

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