Scientists concerned about endangered orca still pushing body of her calf

John Durban  NOAA Fisheries FILE

"I am sobbing. I can't believe she is still carrying her calf around", Ms Giles said.

The whale was given a dose of antibiotics from a dart Thursday, and a veterinarian was able to do a health assessment.

The team led by the US agency lacks a permit to feed the sick whale live salmon in Canadian waters, though it had one for medical treatment. "There is very little risk to the animal getting a shot of long-lasting antibiotic, but the potential gain was quite large".

We are saddened to report that a baby Southern Resident killer whale (SRKW) died a short time after it was born near.

Tahlequah, referred to by scientists as J35, was spotted Wednesday by Canadian scientists pushing the body of her calf off the coast of the Olympic Peninsula.

'It is disgusting. This is an animal that is a sentient being, ' Deborah Giles, science and research director for the nonprofit Wild Orc said.

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Haulena said they watched J50 rejoin her group on Thursday. The situation is most certainly urgent, especially considering that this sick orca is one of the mere 75 individuals of her kind left on Earth.

In June, researchers revealed that it was not uncommon for whales and dolphins to keep holding onto their dead offspring for days at a time. Her baby had died soon after it was born, and its body had started to decompose on the ninth day.

Any intervention with the pod will be contingent on the behavior of the whales, as well as the weather and swell conditions.

They face nutritional stress over a lack of their preferred food source, Chinook salmon, as well as threats from toxic contamination and vessel noise and disturbances that disrupt their ability to communicate and forage.

J50 is a member of J Pod of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale group, that includes orca J35 "Tahlequah" who has been carrying her dead calf with her for more than two weeks.

The group will prioritize short-term and long-term actions, many of which are certain to focus on recovering the prized salmon that the fish-eating whales like to eat.

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The pod's pregnancies haven't produced a viable offspring over the past three years, said the research centre.

Killer whales, though they have a reputation for being ruthless predators, are some of the most socially sophisticated animals in the world.

"It is very possible that she has succumbed at this point and that we may never see her again", Rowles told reporters Tuesday. By doing so, you will help ensure that there are plenty of fish in the sea for the animals who actually need to eat these aquatic creatures to survive (unlike us).

Since then, an adult male orca went missing in June and is presumed dead.

Thornton said there are no current plans to intervene in the case of J35.

"Obviously the connection [the pod] has formed with this calf is substantial and is something that we do have to take into account - what or how that might impact the whale from her behavioral state", Hanson said.

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