Team gives medication to sick killer whale at sea

Scarlet is among a group of endangered rapidly dwindling Southern Resident killer whales that frequent the Pacific Northwest

This is likely due to a sharp decline in the killer whales' main food source - the Chinook salmon - as well as contamination of the waters that they live in.

Killer whales carry their dead calves for a week or so.

Several recent scientific papers and publications have documented grieving behavior in whales and dolphins, and scientists working in the Salish Sea have themselves witnessed similar sad sights of mothers carrying deceased calves.

"It is very possible that she has succumbed at this point and that we may never see her again", Rowles told reporters Tuesday.

By the time the whale entered her third day of mourning, Dr Balcomb, said he had never observed a whale mourn for such a long time.

Experts at the Whale Museum on San Juan Island have been monitoring the whale since her calf died last month. "There is very little risk to the animal getting a shot of long-lasting antibiotic, but the potential gain was quite large".

Scarlet is the youngest southern resident killer whale among a group of 75 that feed in the waters off of Alaska and northern California, but when scientists were last able to evaluate her condition, she was underweight and had an infection, Rowles said during the press call.

Giles said the spotlight on the animals, while itself frightful news, has already led to skyrocketing worry about their plight. In addition, since J35 has just given birth, she "may have extra lipid stores built up" that were preparing her body for nursing.

The behaviour often involved one or more individuals attending to the deceased. They didn't observe whether J50 had been eating or not.

They also face overlapping threats from toxic pollution and noise and disturbances from boats. The team of experts who followed the whale on the water for about six hours Thursday got a breath sample to analyze whether she might have bacteria or fungus in her airway.

Orca J50 with sister J42. "There was no sign of the groups waiting for her ... she was mostly with her mom as well as her siblings".

The youngest of the group, the southern resident killer whale that's known to marine scientists as J50 hasn't been seen for days, and even before she vanished, experts were anxious about her deteriorating health. The fact that we haven't seen any in several years and then to have reproductive failure is further evidence that we have a severe problem with the reproductive viability in the population, ' said Brad Hanson, a wildlife biologist with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle.

"Obviously the connection they've formed with this calf is substantial and it's something that we do have to take into account", he said.

"She appears to be in distress and may not be feeding successfully, so we are asking vessels continue to give her a wide berth", said DFO regional director Andrew Thomson.

The orcas are distinct from other killer whales because they eat salmon rather than marine mammals. These salmon are backups for the ones on the Lummi police boat.

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