Medicine

Grieving orca still carrying her dead calf more than two weeks later

Grieving orca still carrying her dead calf more than two weeks later

Foggy conditions and ocean swells have prevented the teams from collecting breath and fecal samples, which requires getting within five metres of the young orca while matching her pace.

Her apparent act of grief has tugged at the world's heartstrings for weeks and shown the struggles faced by her endangered pod of southern resident killer whales.

NOAA Fisheries says an global team reached the 3½-year-old orca known as J50 Thursday in the waters near Washington state's San Juan Island. He and the team of experts gave her a dose of antibiotics through a dart and took a breath sample to help assess whether she has an infection. It will take up to a week to get results.

A mourning mother killer whale, or commonly known as orca, has captured the hearts of everyone when she carried her dead calf in late July.

A team set out Thursday and found the young whale alone, said Vancouver Aquarium veterinarian Martin Haulena on a conference call with reporters Friday.

J50 is the sick whale that a team of experts are hoping to save. The scientists said they have no plans to intervene; removing the dead calf would have serious repercussions to the group. "It struck me very dramatically". While very skinny & small, J50 kept up with her mother & siblings. The ailing orca was swimming with her mom Wednesday. She was quite adept as moving around. "Can we do it when she is a bit separated from the group?"

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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.

Haulena said that he does not suspect that respiratory disease is a factor in J50's illness. As of August 9, The Seattle Times reports that Tahlequah was still clinging to her baby, keeping its 400-pound (180-kilogram) body afloat with her head, coming up for air and swimming in a tight circle behind her pod for a few breaths before diving down deep to lift her daughter's body to the surface again. "Is that not only is she not improving, it looks like she's deteriorating over the period of time when we would expect to see the condition improve".

J35 was first spotted July 24 carrying the calf on her nose and in her mouth. The dead calf's mother, J35, has carried its carcass for more than two weeks as it appears to grieve.

"I am sobbing. I can't believe she is still carrying her calf around", Ms Giles said. Next step is to determine whether to proceed w/ trial feeding, depending on conditions & location of the whales. "It's very hard to say, but certainly they're very intelligent animals and the loss of this animal is quite profound for both the (killer whales) and I think for everyone who witnesses this". But what is unknown is her condition going into her pregnancy, and after the loss of it.

We humans are compassionate animals, partly because we're good at spotting cause-and-effect relationships. "And to try and treat what is treatable".