A team of veterinarians was attempting on Sunday, August 5 to complete a health assessment of J50, a three-year-old member of the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said J-pod was traveling east from open waters on the west side of Vancouver Island towards the Salish Sea Saturday evening.
J50 when she was six-months-old July 2015. Photograph by Naturalist Clint "Showtime" RIvers, Eagle Wing Tours, Victoria, BC courtesy of PWWA
Once the health assessment is completed, NOAA will determine what steps to take to support the whale. According to NOAA, the juvenlle orca is emaciated and is sometimes lethargic in the water, but still has perio of activity including feeding.
Analysis of a small sample of her breath did no definitively indicate an infection or illness, although it did not rule out one either. Scientists who have observed the whale agreed that she is in poor condition and may not survive.
Experts on a conference call August 2, 2018 agreed to focus on obtaining better photographs of the whale and conducting a veterinary health assessment. A white path behind her blowhole may be a symptom of infection.
Fecal samples and another breath sample are being sought.
NOAA will be giving updates daily starting Monday, August 6, 2018.
- J50 to be treated for parasite found in fecal sample
- NOAA tried to feed J50 off of the west side of San Juan Island
- Updates on J50: Still with her pod
- 'Very, very thin' killer whale injected with antibiotics near the San Juan Islands
- Update August 9 on efforts to assess/medicate J50
- Update August 8 on J50
- Update on efforts to help J50
- NOAA still looking for J50 so assessment can be done; J35 not seen in a few days
- J52 "Sonic" died - 3rd of 6 "2015 baby boom" orca to die
- Update on killer whale "Class of 2015"
- All four baby orcas doing well especially J50
- Update on J50 ,J51 and L121
- J51 and J50 spotted swimming with their moms
- Another orca calf in J pod
- New calf sighted in J pod.