Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Scientists give ailing killer whale shot of antibiotics

John Durban  NOAA Fisheries FILE John Durban NOAA Fisheries FILE
Gustavo Carr | 12 August, 2018, 04:44

The whale was first spotted carrying the calf on her nose and in her mouth on July 24.

For now, researchers and veterinarians working to treat J50 will continue to monitor J35, looking closely at her for skin lesions, any changes in the way she swims or surfaces or major changes in her breath, which could indicate that she is metabolizing lipids.

"This type of grief in people often goes underground, it's, 'It's just a dog, an animal, move on.' People go underground with these feelings, they are delegitimized".

The southern resident killer whales are a critically endangered population, with approximately 75 individuals left.

"I am sobbing. I can't believe she is still carrying her calf around", Deborah Giles, a research scientist and research director for nonprofit Wild Orca, told the Seattle Times.

"I think that's one of the things that's most worrisome to me".

'It is awful. This is an animal that is a sentient being, ' Deborah Giles, science and research director for the nonprofit Wild Orc said.

"Having not laid eyes on her personally before, it was dramatic how thin she is", Haulena said. She saw Tahlequah continuing to carry the calf Tuesday as J pod traveled south to the outer coast of Cape Flattery, Wash. They will need to be within roughly 16 feet of the whale to get a breath sample.

They also observed this touching behaviour in one pod of whales with the corpse of a male adult who may have died after a fight.

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It creates a cloud of gloom above the club and if he doesn't stop it, he will find himself sacked before he knows it. I think football is changing and managers should be called head coaches".

The group will prioritize short-term and long-term actions, many of which are certain to focus on recovering the prized salmon that the fish-eating whales like to eat.

They face nutritional stress over a lack of their preferred food source, Chinook salmon, as well as threats from toxic contamination and vessel noise and disturbances that disrupt their ability to communicate and forage.

The carcass is "surprisingly intact", she said.

"We've been saying it for 20 years, the humans who have been studying these animals", Giles said, before noting that now "the animals themselves in the last three weeks, it's nearly like they've taken the torch".

Killer whales, though they have a reputation for being ruthless predators, are some of the most socially sophisticated animals in the world. A report is due later this year. That data has documented orcas that declined and then disappeared.

The task force is considering a range of efforts, from increasing hatchery production of salmon, training more private boats to help respond to oil spills, and prioritizing areas where important habitat can be restored.

"The big question is, can we craft public policy that can make a difference in the future of the orca, and by doing so make a positive difference in how we live in Puget Sound", Purce said in an interview Monday.

The orcas are distinct from other killer whales because they eat salmon rather than marine mammals. "To us, she is still a critical whale", Haulena said.