Medication given to sick killer whale at sea to save her

Mourning orca mother still carrying dead calf more than two weeks later on 'tour of grief'

The Lummi Nation is also standing by to provide live chinook salmon for the young whale.

Killer whales, though they have a reputation for being ruthless predators, are some of the most socially sophisticated animals in the world.

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 was dramatic how thin she was, Haulena said, adding that he wants to know more about her digestive system and whether she's been eating.

Haulena said they watched J50 rejoin her group on Thursday.

"This type of grief in people often goes underground, it's, 'It's just a dog, an animal, move on.' People go underground with these feelings, they are delegitimized".

"I am sobbing. I can't believe she is still carrying her calf around", Deborah Giles, a research scientist and research director for nonprofit Wild Orca, told the Seattle Times.

'It is frightful. This is an animal that is a sentient being, ' Deborah Giles, science and research director for the nonprofit Wild Orc said. She returned to her family of whales in Canada later that year and in 2013 was seen with her new calf. The situation is most certainly urgent, especially considering that this sick orca is one of the mere 75 individuals of her kind left on Earth.

They also observed this touching behaviour in one pod of whales with the corpse of a male adult who may have died after a fight.

It was hearing initial recommendations focused on three main threats to the orcas: lack of food, toxic contamination and boat noise and disturbance.

Brad Hanson with NOAA said earlier Thursday that if they didn't obtain health samples from J50 soon, opportunities to medicate the orca might dry up as rough weather is expected to come in Friday.

Orca J50 off Cape Flattery, Washington. The dead calf's mother, J35, has carried its carcass for more than two weeks as it appears to grieve. The NOAA response team treated J50 with a long-acting broad-spectrum antibiotic through a dart while they await results of the whale's health assessment.

About half of the 11 calves born during a celebrated baby boom several years ago have died. Researchers with the Whale Sanctuary Project took a sample of the fish scales so they can later genetically track whether the whales consume that fish, while other crews with the Lummi tribe scooped the salmon out of a large bin and sent it into the water.

Washington Govenor Jay Inslee signed an executive order in March directing state agencies to take immediate action to help the orcas. That data has documented orcas that declined and then disappeared.

"It is very possible she has succumbed at this point and we may never see her again", Rowles said. A final report is due in November.

They are anxious she isn't getting enough time to forage for food. These salmon are backups for the ones on the Lummi police boat.

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