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.

Just Posted

LETTER: Blanket firearms ban misses the point

A letter to the editor from MP Cathy McLeod

If not Greyhound, it’s time to consider all options

Weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

Local brewery added to B.C. Ale Trail

Barkerville Brewing one of eight breweries on a new arm of the trail

Williams Lake man, firefighter remembered by MP Todd Doherty in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Fresh faces, new information and new ranch enterprises

Columnist David Zirnhelt on local funding and projects

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

B.C. nanny charged with sex abuse of 3 children

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

Most Read