Experts are Considering Capturing a Killer Whale in Order to Treat it

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Officials leading a rescue operation in Canada and the United States believe that the next step would be to capture and treat the incredibly sick and endangered orca. This would allow the researchers to physically examine the killer whale if the circumstances arise.

In case the orca, known as J50, ends up stranded on a beach or separated from her family, officials are decided to lay out steps which involve capturing and treating her before they release her again into the wild. According to Chris Yates, who works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S., the team’s ultimate objective is making sure that J50 survives in the wild and that she can contribute to the revitalization of the southern resident killer whales.

During a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, he said that “we do not intend to intervene or capture J50 in a manner contrary to that objective or when there is a negative impact to her pod or the wild population”. It is not their objective to place the whale in captivity and they don’t intend to intervene if she is with her pod.

They know that they are facing a lot of logistical challenges to making sure that everyone on board is really prepared for what they would have to do. They have to be ready and in position as soon as a rescue is required through stranding or separation. There where aerial photos taken and J50 displays a noticeable fat loss behind her head, which leads to the peanut head appearance.

J50 is one of only 75 killer whales remaining in the southern area and her health deteriorated during these last months and often she is either emaciated or she is slowly staying behind her family.


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