J50 was seen lagging a half-mile to a mile behind the rest of her family group at times on Friday, September 7, 2018. NOAA researchers say her body condition is not improving. She appeared to have lost more weight and looked very thin.
Unfortunately, NOAA did not succeed in providing a dose of dewormer. They are hoping for favorable conditions on Saturday, September 8.
Photos by NOAA
With growing concern, NOAA is working with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to evaluate options. NOAA's highest priorities are to do all they can to ensure J50 remains a contributing part of the Southern Resident killer whale population and to prevent any harm to her and her family under any potential response scenario.
The emaciated three-year-old orca is a member of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population. The SRKW's population was 98 in 1995 and is 75 in 2018.
J50 has been given two doses of antibiotics, one in August and one this month. A fecal sample from her mother, J16, revealed a parasite. The parasite isn't a problem for healthy whales but can cause trouble for J50, since she is in such a bad condition. It's assumed she also has the parasite since J16 shares food with her.
A fish feeding trial was conducted in August to determine if it would be possible to administer medication in fish. NOAA photo
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