Killer whale J50 is shown off the coast of Washington State in this August 12, 2018 handout photo. An ailing killer whale was last sighted off Washington state on Saturday and biologists say she was still struggling. (NOAA Fisheries, Katy Foster)

Sick killer whale J50 diagnosed with parasitic worms

Scientists learn more in their quest to help the southern resident orca, which swims off B.C.’s coast

U.S. and Canadian scientists have moved one step closer to curing one of the last 75 southern resident killer whales that travel along B.C.’s coastline.

In an update Thursday night, the U.S.-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said J50, a four-year-old orca, has been suffering from parasitic worms.

That’s based off a fecal sample that scientists were able to collect Aug. 17 from J50’s mother, J16.

WATCH: Conservation groups sue Ottawa to protect endangered killer whales

WATCH: Ailing orca J50 gets 2nd dart of antibiotics by B.C. vet

“Since J16 catches fish that she then shares with J50, the veterinary team prioritized treating J50 with a dewormer, following antibiotics,” the group said.

J50 is known to be suffering from “peanut head,” a condition that has caused her to become emaciated and lethargic. Since becoming a priority for scientists last month, she has been shot with darts carrying two doses of antibiotics, including one from B.C. marine biologist Dr. Martin Haulena, the Vancouver Aquarium’s veterinarian.

Seattle-based scientists were also able to collect fecal samples from J27, an adult male in the J Pod. Although the sample yielded little DNA, researchers said they are adapting their analysis to see what information they can learn.


@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

UPDATE: Single vehicle crash on Quesnel-Hydraulic Road claims one life

The incident happened at abut 4:30 p.m. Monday, May 25

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend about 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Musical message of hope in Quesnel

A group of talented young musicians serenaded the residents and staff of Dunrovin on Sunday, May 24

Highway 97 north of Quesnel down to single lane alternating

Emcon Services Inc. crews will be working on repairs between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday, May 25

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

36 soldiers test positive for COVID-19 after working in Ontario, Quebec care homes

Nearly 1,700 military members are working in long-term care homes overwhelmed by COVID-19

B.C. poison control sees spike in adults, children accidentally ingesting hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer sales and usage have gone up sharply amid COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. man with Alberta plates gets car keyed and aggressive note

Some out-of-province people are finding hostile reception due to COVID-19 worries

Most Read