Emergency rescue efforts for endangered killer whale hit snag in Canada

Lummi Hereditary Chief Bill James center, leads a blessing aboard a Lummi Nation Natural Resources Enforcement boat before departing Bellingham

Emergency rescue efforts for endangered killer whale hit snag in Canada

Scientists worry that she only has days to live.

Her condition continues to deteriorate.

"The big question is, can we craft public policy that can make a difference in the future of the orca, and by doing so make a positive difference in how we live in Puget Sound", Purce said in an interview Monday.

J50 and her brother in 2014.

But there's one possible hurdle: If she's found in Canadian waters, Canadian law doesn't allow humans to feed her.

A team of experts led by NOAA Fisheries have been searching for the young whale to assess her health and potentially give her medication.

Tahlequah was last seen August 2 carrying her dead calf for a 10th straight day. The pod was spotted Tuesday west of Port Renfrew. Previously, the mother was in OK shape, but her health now is unknown. "They could initially hear the whales through hydrophones and then they located them".

Cottrell said the Canadian government was considering granting a special license to feed J50.

She said weather conditions were improving, so they were hoping for another sighting in order to collect fecal and breath samples from J50. The ailing orca was swimming with her mom Wednesday.

"We are hopeful that there is a chance that we may be able to assist her with medical treatment, that we may be able to get her nourishment and treat her", said Teri Rowles, director of the marine mammal health and stranding program for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

However, if things go well, J50 might receive further treatment of salmon laced with medication.

The agency is not even sure if the whale would consume the prey at this point, Rowles said.

American officials said the whale appeared lethargic and lost almost 20 per cent of its body mass.

Whale experts have been increasingly anxious about J50 after a researcher last month noticed an odour on the orca's breath, a smell detected on other orcas that later died. That data has documented orcas that declined and then disappeared.

"We want to determine how she reacts", Rowles said.

But veterinarians haven't spotted the 3½-year-old female killer whale in several days. The K pod has 18 whales and the L pod consists of 35 whales.

"Hopefully, they are doing well and foraging and doing what they need to do".

Unprecedented efforts are in the works to help a malnourished and possibly sick young killer whale last spotted off the B.C. coast - if officials can find her in time. She was the first orca to be rescued, rehabilitated and successfully released back into the wild.

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