Rescue team rushes to help ailing orca spotted off Canada

Jeff Foster of the Whale Sanctuary Project checks the pole that will be used to collect breath samples during the planned health assessment of J50

Ms Giles said even if the orca's family is foraging for and sharing fish with her, she can't be getting the nutrition she needs to regain any body-mass loss that would have naturally occurred during the gestation of her foetus "and also additional loss of nutrition during these weeks of mourning".

The female orca known as J35 has been clinging to its calf since it died July 24, an image of grief that has struck an emotional chord worldwide. Ken Balcomb with the Center for Whale Research told The Seattle Times J35 has carried the carcass of her calf more approximately 1,000 miles or more.

"These are very intelligent animals, and the loss of this animal is quite profound for the matriline and everyone who witnesses it", said Sheila Thornton, lead killer-whale scientist for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Live chinook salmon aboard the King County Research Vessel SoundGardian are released into waters off San Juan Island, Wash, as a young female orca called J50 was not in the area on Friday Aug. 10, 2018.

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

Scientists want to do everything possible to keep J50 alive because of her reproductive potential and have developed a plan to feed her live salmon containing antibiotics. Researchers spotted the 20-year-old whale and the calf off of Washington's Olympic Peninsula on Wednesday, the station says.

"While very skinny and small, J50/Scarlet kept up well with her mother and siblings", NOAA stated on its website. "That is very good news", he said. Scientists are anxious about her and will watch her but don't have plans to help her or remove the calf.

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"I think it could have gone a little bit better and I would try things a little bit differently based on what we found", Haulena said. By the time biologists from the Center for Whale Research arrived at her side, the calf was dead.

"The fish would be distributed into the water in front of her", she said.

Rowles said injections of antibiotics or sedatives have been given to other free-swimming whales or dolphins that were injured or entangled but it hasn't been done for free-swimming whales in this area.

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

They also face overlapping threats from toxic pollution and noise and disturbances from boats. The orca would initially get just a few fish to see whether it takes it and how it and members of its pod respond before deciding whether to give it salmon dosed with medication, officials have said. She was seen carrying her dead calf on her head for hours.

One of the problems affecting whales is the lack of salmon, their main source of food due to overfishing for commercial consumption.

The Puget Sound calf was the first in three years to be born to the dwindling population of endangered southern resident killer whales.

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