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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

HISTORY: How did Mission cope with the Spanish flu

In 1918, a different world-wide pandemic was being dealt with

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak declared over

Dr. Bonnie Henry hails work done to halt outbreak, which saw more than 130 people contract COVID-19

Man who broke into Abbotsford post office receives four more months in jail

Gary Patrick Richard sentenced for break-in and mail theft from April 20

Chilliwack teachers and EAs concerned with health and safety plans

As schools get ready to open, many worry measures won’t be enough to protect students from COVID-19

Police say Chilliwack driver who flipped car on overpass Sunday was impaired

Witnesses say rollover incident was preceded by vehicle and motorcycles speeding all over town

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The importance of accurate, ethical reporting is critical – perhaps as never before

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

VIDEO: Police look for suspect seen tripping elderly woman in Burnaby

The elderly woman was walking near the SkyTrain station when she was randomly tripped

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

Most Read