Please select your home edition
Edition
leaderboard with question mark E6 launch 2021

Latest updates on Southern Resident Killer Whales J50 and J35

by NOAA Fisheries 23 Aug 2018 06:02 PDT
Southern Resident Killer Whales © NOAA Fisheries

Biologists are mobilized and responding to an emaciated and ailing three year-old killer whale (born December 2014), J50 also known as Scarlet, of the critically endangered Southern Resident population.

J50 appears lethargic at times with periods of activity, including feeding. Scientists observing her agree that she is in poor condition and may not survive. Responders from NOAA Fisheries and partner organizations are exploring options ranging from no intervention to providing medical treatment, potentially delivered in a live Chinook salmon, which has never before been attempted in the wild. Potential treatment may include medication and nutrition.

J35, an adult female also known as Tahlequah, who carried her dead calf for over two weeks, is also being monitored.

J50 Updates

August 20: Response teams spent about three hours on Saturday (8/18) monitoring J50/Scarlet as J Pod returned to the Salish Sea on the way towards San Juan Island. Biologists aboard a SeaDoc Society vessel reported J50/Scarlet actively socializing with the rest of the pod, a hint that her condition may be improving slightly. She fell behind the pod as the whales swam east, but a University of Washington (UW) team saw her rejoin her mother (J16/Slick) and sister (J42/Echo) to forage near Hannah Heights on the west side of San Juan Island.

The UW team also collected two fecal samples from the group. On Sunday (8/19) J Pod was seen heading west, back toward open ocean. The plan going forward is to administer another dose of antibiotic through a dart and, if possible, a second dart with dewormer to reduce parasitic worms, known to be harmful in emaciated marine mammals like J50/Scarlet, and that were found in the recent fecal samples from a group of three whales including J50. The veterinary team believes another dose of antibiotic remains the priority to treat potential infection since the first dart on 8/9 delivered only half a dose. Darting a swimming killer whale that has thick skin, particularly on fins and flukes, from a rocking boat is challenging.

To ensure that J50/Scarlet receives the medication, veterinarians may switch to a collared needle with a ridge that holds it in place long enough to deliver the full dose. This type of dart is commonly used to treat wildlife, such as elephants, and will fall out in time. See new photos from Saturday (8/18) here

August 17: Test results from the health samples collected from J50/Scarlet are starting to come in from several top laboratories around the country. A fecal sample collected last weekend from a group of three J Pod whales (J16/Slick, J42/Echo, and J50/Scarlet), showed high levels of Contracaecum, a nematode parasite that is commonly found in killer whales and other marine mammals.

The worm is not usually a problem in healthy animals. However, in animals that are emaciated or are otherwise compromised, the parasite can penetrate the stomach lining, introducing bacterial infection to the bloodstream, or it can bore into internal organs. While we cannot be sure the sample came from J50/Scarlet, the veterinary team has updated her treatment priorities to include antibiotics and a dewormer. Both have proven successful and safe in other cetaceans. The treatment should help J50/Scarlet by reducing bacterial and parasitic burdens on her system so she can start regaining the weight she has lost. The whales remain in open waters off the west side of Vancouver Island, beyond the reach of the response teams.

Read more here

Related Articles

Rooster partners with the Final Straw foundation
To launch their Clean Christmas campagin This campaign aims to tackle the classic Christmas giveaways differently this year, in favour to reduce waste and environmental impact. There are two ways in which Rooster are offering people to get involved. Posted today at 6:00 pm
Cup Spy Dec 1: American Magic caught short
Lesson for all teams as to how crucial the correct sail choice will be in 2024 American Magic spent over five hours on the water, covering 55nm, in lighter winds than expected. Unfortunately the team made the wrong mainsail choice, in the expectation of stronger winds, and had to do tow-starts 75% of the time. Posted today at 8:28 am
Cup Spy Nov 30: Fun but Frightening
Italian Flight controller: "The boat is pretty scary in that condition." Plus a look at that Pole. The Italian challenger say they had a "productive practice day" on Wednesday, sailing in their strongest wind yet in their LEQ12 prototype. We look at the British team's battle over the legality of their Instrumentation Pole. Posted today at 1:43 am
New Rooster Aquafleece® robe
The first watersports robe with a removable lining The first watersports robe with a removable lining - for easy cleaning/drying. Oversized,warm and versatile jacket with removable quick drying teddy fleece lining - the perfect jacket for warming up after a sports activity. Posted on 1 Dec
French Olympic Week in Hyères registration open
The meeting will be all-star showing with more than 700 competitors expected from over 50 nations With Paris 2024 Olympic Games just over a year away, the world's best athletes will be present in Hyères. And on the water, the 10 Olympic series will put on a show! Posted on 1 Dec
Marine Resources latest jobs
Break the scrolling cycle and expand your horizons In today's culture, it's easier to consume more content than ever, with the average adult spending 147 minutes a day on social media. Break the scrolling cycle and expand your horizons by browsing the latest news and jobs in the marine industry. Posted on 1 Dec
Chuck Begley on the LCYC's Long Distance Series
An interview with Chuck Begley on the last event of the LCYC's 2022 Long Distance Series I checked in with Chuck Begley, who serves as Lake Canyon Yacht Club's race director, via email, to learn more about the last event of the LCYC's 2022 Long Distance Series. Posted on 1 Dec
Barcelona to host the 2023 Rolex TP52 Worlds
The first time that the event will be held in the Catalan capital city The 2023 Rolex TP52 World Championship will be contested on the 37th America's Cup racing waters off Barcelona during the week 21st to 26th August when Doug DeVos' Quantum Racing will seek to defend the world title which they won this year in Cascais. Posted on 1 Dec
Introducing the new The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup
A new trophy is announced for the VO65 one design class in The Ocean Race 2022-23 Along with five confirmed IMOCA teams racing around the world, up to five VO65 teams will be on the starting line in Alicante, Spain in January, with an option to compete for a new trophy within The Ocean Race called The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup. Posted on 1 Dec
Application open for recyclable sailing school
Competition opens to sailing clubs globally Northern Light Composites and not-for-profit Clean Sailors have opened a competition to give sailing clubs around the world the chance to own one of the first ecoOptimists ever produced. Posted on 1 Dec
Henri-Lloyd 2022 November - Gore-Tex - SW FOOTERCoast Guard Foundation FOOTER 1C-Tech 2021 (Spars-QFX Racer) 728x90 BOTTOM