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

Spike in Jaffray bear calls cause for concern

In 2018 there were 38 calls about bears spotted in the Jaffray area, compared to one call in 2017.

Snow on the way for Elk Valley

Winter weather advisory issued for East Kootenay with up to 15cm of snow expected over the next week

Snow removal still an issue for mobility challenged in Fernie

Disability advocate sees little improvement in sidewalk clearing; City promises to review policy

Sparwood trails community growing

Sparwood Trails Alliance grows trail network, membership; hosting fatbike event February 2

Huge demand for youth funding in the Elk Valley

Emily Brydon Youth Foundation overwhelmed by 2018/19 winter applications from local youth

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

BREAKING: Jury finds man accused of killing B.C. girl, 12, guilty

Twelve-year-old Monica Jack disappeared in May 1978 while riding her bike along a highway in Merritt, B.C.

Most Read