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techkenyot.com February 20, 2019


Global team gives medication to sick killer whale at sea

12 August 2018, 04:41 | Silvia Roy

Katy Foster NOAA Fisheries

Katy Foster  NOAA Fisheries

Tahlequah is not carrying that calf's body all by herself - members of her family have been helping her with her vigil.

While he is part of the core veterinarian team trying to save the whale, it was the first time he'd seen the animal in person.

An global team of experts has been waiting for an opportunity to get close to the female killer whale so they can carry out an emergency plan that includes giving it antibiotics or feeding it live salmon at sea.

J50 was last seen on Wednesday, keeping up with her group, J-pod.

They hunt in these groups, and animals that become isolated can suffer a potentially life-threatening food shortage, experts warn.

The southern resident killer whales are a critically endangered population, with approximately 75 individuals left. Moreover, she expressed her worry over the nutrition of the orca.

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

It was dramatic how thin she was, Haulena said, adding that he wants to know more about her digestive system and whether she's been eating.

"I think that's one of the things that's most worrisome to me". In addition, since J35 has just given birth, she "may have extra lipid stores built up" that were preparing her body for nursing.

It's hard to watch, but for 17 days and counting, Tahlequah has been traveling 60-70 miles (97-112 kilometers) a day in strong current with her baby's corpse on her head, showing us what grief looks like. "There was no sign of the groups waiting for her ... she was mostly with her mom as well as her siblings".

It's also not only a matter of weather; the whales themselves have to be in the right position and behavior to attempt a medical intervention.

They also face overlapping threats from toxic pollution and noise and disturbances from boats.

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A mother orca was spotted today still carrying her dead calf for the 16th straight day after the infant was born off the Canada coast near Victoria, British Columbia and died shortly afterwards.

A multi-year study last year by University of Washington and other researchers found that two-thirds of the orcas' pregnancies failed between 2007 and 2014.

Rowles said injections of antibiotics or sedatives have been given to other free-swimming whales or dolphins that were injured or entangled but it hasn't been done for free-swimming whales in this area.

Experts say Springer's case was different because she was isolated. "That is very good news", he said. That data has documented orcas that declined and then disappeared.

"Our decision will be based on science and we will act quickly with our partners when conditions permit, to take appropriate action", the ministry said in a statement.

The efforts come as a task force called by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee met Tuesday to come up with solutions to help the whales. A final report is due in November.

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