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

J/Teams podium in Round the County Race
a.k.a. "The Noah's Ark Edition" Over the past weekend, Pacific Northwest sailors enjoyed their famous end-of-the-sailing season classic known as the Round the County Race. Posted today at 8:24 pm
Take Your Gifting Up A Few Knots
Henri-Lloyd have a range of options for you This festive season, take your gifting up a few knots and treat yourself or a loved one to something truly special from Henri-Lloyd's selection of timeless Christmas gifts. Posted today at 4:00 pm
505 Class looks forward to 2022
Some superb events in the schedule after a disrupted 2021 2021 is coming to an end and hopefully we say goodbye to the worst of Covid. So what is planned for 2022? Posted today at 1:50 pm
The Race Around: Race Directors announced
Jacques Caraës and Claire Renou appointed The Race Around, Class40's official round-the-world yacht race, has named its race management team. The event, co-founded by Sam Holliday and Hugh Piggin, will start in the late summer of 2023 and can be raced either solo or double-handed. Posted today at 10:56 am
KiteFoil World Series Gran Canaria overall
Foil la France! Mazella and Newland storm to championship glory Axel Mazella and Poema Newland have become champions of Gran Canaria, the fifth and final event of the 2021 KiteFoil World Series. Both French riders have also been crowned champions of the 2021 season. Posted today at 10:19 am
2021 ILCA 6 Radial Worlds in Oman day 4
Shifting winds and changing fortunes Shifting winds on Day 4 of the 2021 ILCA 6 World Championships allowed a full day of racing but one full of surprises once again influenced by the wind. Posted today at 9:42 am
18ft Skiff NSW Championship in Sydney race 3
A dominating performance ny the Yandoo team of John Winning, Mike Kennedy & Fang Warren The Yandoo team of John Winning, Mike Kennedy and Fang Warren lead the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship following a dominating performance to take out Race 3 of the championship on Sydney Harbour today. Posted today at 8:59 am
LawConnect Line Honours in Cabbage Tree Island
Supermaxi led the Cabbage Tree Island fleet out of Sydney Harbour on a gloomy Friday evening After an impressive start to the Cabbage Tree Island race on Friday, when Christian Beck's Law Connect led the fleet out of Sydney Harbour on a gloomy Friday evening, the 100 footer held the lead to Cabbage Tree Island and back... Posted today at 4:33 am
Paprec Arkea skipper for Vendée Globe announced
Yoann Richomme to sail new IMOCA from the Finot-Conq group Paprec and Arkéa are strengthening their commitment to ocean racing as they lead a new campaign for the 2024 Vendée Globe. Posted on 4 Dec
KiteFoil World Series Gran Canaria day 3
Taradin running out of runway to beat Bainbridge Day three of the 2021 KiteFoil World Series Gran Canaria saw the breeze gusting too strongly for the riders to get out through the shore break at Playa de las Burras. Again no racing, but few murmurs of disappointment from the fleet. Posted on 4 Dec
Hyde Sails 2021 - Basic FOOTERDoyle Sails 2020 - Built for Adventure 728x90 BOTTOMCoast Guard Foundation FOOTER 2