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

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Trauma and recovery cracked Wide Open in memoir

Local author D.M. Ditson writes about assault and the journey to recovery

Fat bike fun at Nipika

Cross River Ripper Race this Saturday, February 23rd

MLA working on health care access

Clovechok addresses numerous health concerns from constituents

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Sledder dies near Fernie

Fernie Search and Rescue was tasked by the RCMP to respond to a sledder in medical distress

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Most Read