Killer whale still carrying her dead calf after 16 days

The 3½-year-old orca is thin, in poor body condition and may have an infection. The experts now have authorization to intervene with medical treatment in both US and Canadian waters once the critically endangered orca shows up again in the inland waters of the Pacific Northwest.

An endangered orca is still clinging to her dead calf more than two weeks after her newborn died.

The relative was J35, and she was carrying her baby's body for the 17th straight day.

The whale known as J35 was spotted in coastal waters near the border between British Columbia and Washington state Wednesday with the carcass of her calf that was born and died on July 24.

"As there are only approximately 76 southern resident killer whales left, we must take into consideration whether our actions risk harming either J-50 or her pod", adds the DFO statement.

J50 was last spotted Wednesday alongside her mother.


No intervention is planned, she said, but they will monitor her condition. "The challenge is keeping track of the whales", said Brad Hanson, a wildlife biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).

"Obviously the connection they've formed with this calf is substantial and it's something that we do have to take into account", he said.

NOAA says on Facebook that the team will decide next whether to feed the free-swimming whale live salmon from a boat. J50, the ailing 3 1/2-year-old orca, was seen along with her mother, J16.

"Tracking the animals in close proximity is challenging", Hanson said, mentioning that breath sampling is almost impossible in bad weather.

The last time scientists rescued a killer whale in the region was in 2002 when a northern resident killer whale known as Springer was found swimming alone in Puget Sound.

"Tracking the animals in close proximity is challenging", Hanson said, mentioning breath sampling is almost impossible in bad weather. She returned to her family of whales in Canada later that year and in 2013 was seen with her new calf.

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