U.S. researchers end their active search for sick orca J50

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said its team ended its two-day dedicated search

U.S. researchers have called off their search for ailing orca J50, who was last spotted a week ago.

In a statement Saturday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said its team of researchers and biologists ended its two-day dedicated search Friday night.

J50, a nearly four-year-old, emaciated southern residend killer whale, has been the centre of international rescue efforts as those involved tried to keep one of the less than 100 remaining members alive.

In August it was confirmed that J50, also named Scarlet, was suffering from “peanut-head syndrome,” due to malnourishment. Further tests revealed she also had parasitic worms. She had been darted with antibiotics twice before researchers considered the possibility of capturing her for hands-on treatment earlier this week.

Despite her JPod being spotted by rescue teams on both side of the border since then, J50 – who typically swam alongsider her mother – was nowhere to be seen. But while one scientist with the Center for Whale Research declared her dead on Thursday, NOAA and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada remained hopeful.

NOAA said the West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard, will still remain on the lookout for the young orca.

J50’s declared death comes roughly six weeks after J35’s calf was spotted dead – shortly after giving birth off Victoria’s Clover Point on July 24. She garnered international attention for what scientists have called a mourning ritual, involving her carrying her calf for weeks.

Since then, people all over North America have been keeping a close eye on efforts to save the young members of the endangered species.

“J50 and J35 have shown a light on recovery at a time when it is more urgent than ever,” NOAA said.

On Thursday, some of the orca-watching community in Puget Sound got a glimpse of what scientists call the fairly rare greeting ceremony between various orca pods known as a superpod. Some on social media have suggested this could be another kind of mourning ritual.

J50’s death brings the total number of living orcas that frequent the B.C. coast to 74.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Mill undergoing four-week shutdown

Canfor closing other mills as well

Smithers man receives two-year sentence for fatal car crash

Over a year after a fatal crash, a Smithers man has been sentenced to two years plus a day in jail.

First Nations push for massive conservation area in northern B.C.

Includes ancestral areas of three Kaska Dena First Nations, just shy of the B.C.-Yukon border

Tahltan reach benefits agreement over Seabridge’s massive KSM gold mine project

$308M agreement provides additional billions for Tahltan jobs, contracts

B.C. court to mull continuing order against Coastal Gaslink pipeline opponents

Coastal GasLink was granted an interim injunction in December following arrests and protests

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

Family frustrated Terrace dad with advanced cancer must wait weeks for treatment

‘We can see his health declining every day,’ daughter says

B.C. high school withdraws notices for temporary dress code

Parents previously told the Interior News they felt there was inadequate consultation over the rules

VIDEO: Toronto Raptors announcer credited with calming crowds after shooting

Matt Devlin, the Raptors’ play-by-play announcer since 2008, was praised for preventing panic from spreading

Most Read