Rescue team rushes to help ailing orca spotted off Canada

James Marshall
August 10, 2018

That plan does not yet have approval for use in Canadian waters.

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

Researchers spotted the 20-year-old whale and the calf off of Washington's Olympic Peninsula on Wednesday, the station says.

The rescue team has approval in both USA and Canadian waters to give J50 medication, but there is no such plan for another member of the population of southern resident killer whales that has scientists anxious.

"This photo will probably require a little interpretation: the spray of water and exhalation is coming from the top of J35's head, and the white tube-like structure draped over the foreground side of her head is the baby's intestine".

The calf died July 24 and the image of the mother whale clinging to the dead calf has struck an emotional chord worldwide.

"The very poor health condition of southern resident killer whale J-50 of the J-pod is extremely concerning to all of us and warrants immediate action,"reads a statement from DFO". She was last spotted Wednesday. The scientists said they have no plans to intervene; removing the dead calf would have serious repercussions to the group.

"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. "I'm not even sure we would be successful".

During the first three days of her calf's death, the orca swam with her pod but carried along her baby's almost 400 pound body.

The earliest the weather is forecasted to clear up is Sunday, Hanson said, and the plan will be easier if the whales move closer to the coast. In order to feed the sick whale the medicated fish, crews must get within five metres of the pod.

But the carcass, which Tahlequah has now carried for around 1,000 miles, is starting to deteriorate, and Giles said her mourning may soon come to an end. She was fed live salmon in the pen.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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