Starving orca J50 finally spotted alive; emergency action could start Wednesday

Henrietta Strickland
August 9, 2018

"What they're working on this determine which method they're going to use, [is] based on the dose that they have configured for her", Rowles told ABC News on Tuesday.

Cottrell, who was on the water with the marine mammal crew in Sooke, said he was texting with the Port Renfrew crew and didn't have any details on J50's condition.

However, added Teri Rowles, the marine mammal health and stranding coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fisheries division, "it is very possible she may have succumbed" since then. If J50 responds to the salmon, they will be considered as a way to administer medications that may not be injectable.

Rowles said that while the research boats are out in the water searching for Scarlet, they have to keep a distance at least 200 yards to make sure that they don't further stress the sick, young whale or other whales.

Feeding J50 by bringing her live chinook salmon caught by the Lummi Nation could begin as soon as Thursday, depending on whether the health assessment is accomplished Wednesday, and its outcome.

Whale experts have been increasingly anxious about J50 after a researcher last month noticed an odor on the orca's breath, a smell detected on other orcas that later died.

The search is on again for J50, the ailing killer whale, in a cross-border effort to save her life. That data has documented orcas that declined and then disappeared.

"J50 was staying close to her mum and was keeping up well, moving at a casual speed and undertaking what we call logging behaviour which is a resting behaviour with slow transits and movements, and small changes direction so we can't at this time say what specific direction the animals were going in", Thornton said.

There are now only 75 southern resident killer whales that live in the waters along the US west coast from Alaska to California, according to Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research.

"It's been a number of days since Friday, so it was great to see J50", Cottrell said.

"Hopefully, they are doing well and foraging and doing what they need to do".

Experts are preparing rare emergency efforts to administer antibiotics or feed live salmon to try to save a young emaciated orca that's part of a critically endangered pod of killer whales.

Springer was two years old when she was found in Puget Sound near Seattle, ailing and separated from her pod.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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