U.S. officials consider capturing ailing orca to provide hands-on treatment

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The importunity to help struggling orca J50 has officials in the United States considering new acquires of treatment, including capturing the young animal.

«The next steps could involve further intervention, such as a rescue operation and conducting a hands-on palpable examination,» said a press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administering.

«Field treatment has not improved her condition, and veterinarians believe they include exhausted all reasonable remote treatment options and her survival is unlikely.»

U.S. officials consider capturing ailing orca to provide hands-on treatment

An trope of J50 taken by officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Sept. 7 south of San Juan Archipelago. (NOAA/Twitter)

NOAA says J50’s condition has declined and that she is atrophied and often lagging behind her family.

Efforts to help the 3½-year-old female orca, who is be involved in of the J-pod family of the endangered southern resident killer whale residents, have included dosing her with antibiotics and providing live chinook salmon as purvey. 

Last week, attempts to inject the sickly animal with deworming nostrum failed.

‘Evaluate, treat and rehabilitate’

NOAA says it would barely attempt to capture J50 if she becomes stranded or separated from her family rank.

«The overwhelming priority of any rescue intervention would be to evaluate, treat and rehabilitate J50 in a means that would support the greatest chance of her survival while certifying her return and reunification with her family as soon as possible so she can contribute to long-term return of the population.»

If, after capture, J50 is determined to be untreatable she would be returned to J-pod to pass the rest of her life with her family, said the release.

Earlier this summer another associate of J-pod, J35, was seen carrying the corpse of her dead calf for 17 periods.

The pod is often seen in the Salish Sea between Victoria and Seattle.

The southern remaining killer whale population has declined to just 75 animals.

NOAA is presumed to provide an update at 10 a.m. PT this morning.

Read more from CBC British Columbia

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