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

On second toke, Penticton council changes its mind on cannabis store

Council members heard a presentation from Starbuds co-founder

Craft breweries showcased during Penticton Beer Week

To celebrate, all seven of the city’s breweries will be collaborating on a limited release draft

Reason to Smile: Tim Hortons cookie campaign benefits school breakfast program

The smile cookie campaign runs Sept. 13 - 22 at participating Tim Hortons from Summerland to Osoyoos

Death race runners to artists, popular Penticton speaker series has it all

The Pecha Kucha Penticton series returns with the theme of: We Made It

Affordable housing project in Okanagan Falls ready for tenants

South Skaha Place now accepting applications for affordable housing units

‘It’s almost surreal’: Penticton fire chief, sidekick Sammy recap rescue mission in Bahamas

Chief Larry Watkinson and Sam the disaster dog spent 8 days assisting a search and rescue team

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Auntie Says: Even good kids make mistakes

Faye Arcand is a freelance writer living in the South Okanagan

Vancouver police could be using drones to fight crime by end of year

The police department has already purchased three drones, as well as three others for training

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Okanagan ski racer chosen for grant in end game

Makena Kersey, 18, has called it a career following a gruesome leg injury, but story inspires grant

Most Read