A young orca which is part of the Salish Sea’s species facing extinction got biologists worried as falling behind her family was has not been seen for more than three days might lead to her death.
Why is not the little whale keeping up?
According to a team of veterinarians, malnutrition, internal worms or an infection might stay behind the orca’s lateness. The team got the situation in control and administered some medicine to the patient, a shot of antibiotics, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says. J50, the female killer whale, could not keep up with her group on Thursday when the Canadian biologists lost her trace. On Monday morning they have spotted her with her mother.
A spokesman for NOAA, Michael Milstein said “We were starting to fear the worst” on Monday. He added that multiple observers saw the three years old orca at Hein Bank in the south of San Juan Island.
Who is J50?
The southern resident population of whales is critically endangered, and J50 is part of the75 members group divided into three pods: L, K, and J. The biologists closely track the life of each animal, so they got worried when J50 did not come back on the west side of San Juan Island, their foraging ground, with her family.
Her severe weight loss was documented by researches using close-range visual inspection and drone photography. Whales in such a condition die most of the time.
Fisheries staff, boats, and orca experts were mobilized by the Lummi Nation, an international team of biologists and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and King County to help J50.
Their efforts of treating here were worth it as the little killer whale can now swim happily and healthy with her family.