Scientists give ailing killer whale shot of antibiotics


There are plans to attempt to feed J50 while she is in USA waters, but the procedure depends on ocean conditions and the behaviour of J50 and the rest of the pod, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries biologist Lynne Barre.

J50 was observed to be moving well, diving and moving from group to group, but he cautioned that other whales in similar condition to J50 have not survived.

Thornton said a Fisheries and Oceans Canada team did encounter J35 off of the southern tip of Vancouver Island on Thursday and she was still pushing the body of the calf, which was born and died July 24.

United States biologists are racing to find the underweight 3-year-old animal to administer antibiotics either through food or by injection, but she could be dead or in Canada.

Sheila Thornton, the lead killer whale research scientist for DFO, said that the researchers have "obvious concerns" about the behavior of J35. This September 2015 photo provided by NOAA Fisheries shows an aerial view of adult female Southern Resident killer whale (J16) swims with her calf (J50). After ruling out respiratory diseases as causes of her condition, they are now focusing how how well the orca is eating.

By the time the whale entered her third day of mourning, Dr Balcomb, said he had never observed a whale mourn for such a long time.

"Our goal is to see if this is a viable option to deliver medication", she said.

Killer whales, though they have a reputation for being ruthless predators, are some of the most socially sophisticated animals in the world.

They face nutritional stress over a lack of their preferred food source, Chinook salmon, as well as threats from toxic contamination and vessel noise and disturbances that disrupt their ability to communicate and forage.

Fearing that J50's fate will be the same if they don't intervene, scientists are considering multiple strategies created to save the starving whale, including feeding her live salmon dosed with medication at sea.

Tahlequah's calf died a few hours after its birth last month.

"The big question is, can we craft public policy that can make a difference in the future of the orca, and by doing so make a positive difference in how we live in Puget Sound", Purce said in an interview Monday.

As Joe Gaydos, a wildlife veterinarian and science director of SeaDoc Society, reportedly said regarding J50's concerning condition, "It's not a time where you're going to say, 'Let's keep watching.' We know it's not going to end well if we don't try and do something". But I'm hopeful that she will bounce back'. That data has documented orcas that declined and then disappeared.

The efforts come as a task force called by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee met Tuesday to come up with solutions to help the whales. A report is due later this year.

With the whale far away and a bin full of salmon pulled that morning from a state hatchery, crews did a practice run to work out the logistics of feeding live fish to a whale while staying ahead of it in a boat.