In order to save an endangered orca from the West Coast, experts succeeded in injecting it with antibiotics.
According to Martin Haulena, Vancouver Aquarium veterinarian, the young whale was found alone by a team on Thursday,
Even though the killer whale is his patient, he has never seen it in person before. He said “It struck me very dramatically. So that first meeting with this incredibly skinny little whale that was by herself was quite worrisome.”
What was happening?
This orca is one of the 75 remaining ones that swim through the coasts of Washington British Columbia in search of food. It is three and a half year old and called J50. It had been losing weight since June, so something needed to be done. Usually, this happens to all orcas at the beginning of summer until they find chinook salmon but this time it was worrying.
The lead killer whale research scientist, Sheila Thornton from Fisheries and Oceans Canada says “I think that’s one of the things that’s most worrisome to me. Is that not only is she not improving, but it also looks like she’s deteriorating over the period when we would expect to see the condition improve.”
“She was diving for long periods of time and was easily keeping up with her group. That is news,” another researcher said.
However, they were not sure if J50 was eating so they decided to administer it antibiotics by a dart.
Haulena said “I think it could have gone a little bit better and I would try things a little bit differently based on what we found. The injection went in and did not deliver the full dosage. We probably got about half the dosage, maybe a little bit more into her.”
Why were they so worried?
Other orcas that were in J50’s shape did not survive and another one dying would not be could news for the population of killer whales.