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

EXCLUSIVE | Ron MacLean on Prince Rupert: “A kaleidoscope for the eyes”

Rogers Hometown Hockey host on Canucks, B.C.’s First Nations story and hockey’s new reflection phase

EXCLUSIVE: Kirk McLean on first time in Prince Rupert, changing nature of goaltending and Canucks outlook

Alex Kurial caught up with legendary Vancouver Canucks goaltender at Rogers Hometown Hockey

Adverse weather conditions lead to pair of ferry cancellations

Northern Expedition sailings from Prince Rupert and Skidegate affected

Rink ready, for the Rampage, minor hockey and more

Plenty of maintenance work ensures the Civic Centre’s ice surface is in pristine condition

EXCLUSIVE: Slone on Prince Rupert, working with MacLean and women in sports

Tara Slone, host of Rogers Hometown Hockey, sat down with reporter Alex Kurial for an interview

WEB POLL: Is hockey part of your identity as a Canadian?

Prince Rupert is Hometown Hockey! Is the sport part of your national identity?

The Northern View presents Santa Shops Here in Prince Rupert

More reasons to spend your shopping dollars locally

Truck with body inside found at bottom of lake near Kootenay ferry

Investigators believe no foul play is expected but are unsure how the vehicle ended up in the Arrow Lakes

VIDEO: Calgary man narrowly escapes from avalanche while running at Lake Louise

Bryon Howard caught the entire wild experience on camera

PHOTOS: Competitive Christmas light display takes sarcastic turn in Princeton

Heather King of Princeton took a creative and stress-free approach to her holiday display this year

RCMP asks Kootenay cannabis shop to remove image of famous Mountie from storefront

Owner happy to comply with RCMP, but wants more information first

BC Ferries adds 170 extra sailings for the holidays

6 a.m. and 10 p.m. sailings added for busy season

Most Read