J-50 was spotted with the rest of her pod in the Salish Sea Monday morning September 3, 2018. Researchers were relieved as the three-year-old emaciated killer whale hadn't been seen when the J Pod returned to the Salish Sea on September 1 and 2.
J50 follows her mother, J16, on August 18, 2018 near the San Juan Islands. Photo by Katy Foster/NOAA Fisheries, under permit 18786
The last time she was spotted was August 30 by researchers from Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans. DFO reported that J16 and J26, J50’s mother and brother, were lagging behind most of J Pod by about three nautical miles, and J50 was lagging about a half-mile behind them. Sometimes she got closer, but she looked to be struggling to keep up.
NOAA will continue efforts to assess the health of J50 and treat her according to the priorities outlined by the team of veterinarians and scientists.
Previously, NOAA said the next step was another injection of antibiotics and a medication for a parasite. Tests of a fecal sample, that came from either J50 or her mother or brother, showed the parasite.
Extraordinary efforts are being made to improve the young female killer whale's health due to the endangered status of the Southern Resident Killer Whale pods - J, K, and L. The population is down to 75 from a high of 98.
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