Scientists give medicine to sick killer whale near Washington State

It's made up of three pods, all of which have been listed as endangered in both the USA and Canada.

The calf was believed to have died of malnutrition shortly after her birth. Other dangers like boat traffic and noise threaten the killer whales as well.

"I certainly think the length of the situation is unprecedented", Thornton said.

"You can look at that as mourning behaviour, there are a lot of different theories out there". It kept sinking, and the mother would raise it to the surface, ' said Ken Balcomb, senior scientist with the Center for Whale Research on San Juan Island, which closely tracks individual whales.

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

According the researchers, the orca and her pod are going through "a deep grieving process".

"The fish would be distributed into the water in front of her", she said. She returned to her family of whales in Canada later that year and in 2013 was seen with her new calf.

"The assumption is she could be fortified like a dolphin", Noren said.

They are anxious she isn't getting enough time to forage for food.

According to Dr Giles, the other members of the family knew J35 was pregnant due to their sonar, which the animals also use to communicate with one another. Thursday was the 17th day since its death. The orca may also have an infection.

A medical team was speeding to Race Rocks, across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Port Angeles, as of 1 p.m., to see if the conditions are right to attempt to help her. The idea is to do a trial run with live salmon, releasing the fish through a chute about 50 to 100 yards in front of the orca. These salmon are backups for the ones on the Lummi police boat.

The initial plan was to take the fish from seiners or reef netters, a maneuver the Lummi practiced Monday with success.

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.

In order to get breath samples, the scientists use a six-metre carbon-fibre pole with petri dishes on the end.

Experts have been watching the young whale lose weight since June and they took the novel action in an effort to prevent the loss of more reproductive potential within the population.

Any intervention with the pod will be contingent on the behavior of the whales, as well as the weather and swell conditions. However, if J50 is off by herself, quietly resting or foraging, that could present an opportunity. "The feeling is it's quite urgent given the whale's condition".

She said it became evident that "we needed to intervene to determine potentially what was the cause and whether there was anything we could do to assist her". "So we've been standing by here, hoping that the southern residents will come back in".

Many have expressed surprise at just how powerfully watching Tahlequah has affected them. She's probably lost two more in the past decade.

A dose of antibiotics was also administered through a dart, he said.

  • Joey Payne