Endangered and sickly whale hasn't been seen for days, likely dead: expert

By The Canadian Press
September 13, 2018 - 1:25pm Updated: September 13, 2018 - 6:03pm

SEATTLE — A scientist says he believes a sick killer whale that's been at the centre of an international effort to provide the orca with medical treatment is dead.

Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research says the southern resident killer whale hasn't been seen for several days and he believes "there is no way J50 is still alive."

He says the last sighting was by a biologist on Friday evening and her pod, including her mother, has been seen off the coast of British Columbia and Washington State since then without the three-year-old whale.

He says he believes J50's remains have sunk because she was skinny and wouldn't have enough fat to keep her body afloat.

On Wednesday, experts on both sides of the border said they could take extraordinary measures to save the emaciated whale, which is one of 75 remaining members of the endangered southern resident killer whale population.

Officials said they were setting out steps to capture and treat J50 if the whale was found stranded or separated from her family, and that she would then be released back to the wild.

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