sick killer whale J-50 could be cared for in Canadian waters

J-50 and his mother J-16 were sighted Tuesday near Port Renfrew, British Columbia, by officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 
Photo: Brian Gisborne / Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has received an application for a license from the United States to try to cure a young killer whale whose health has been worrying specialists for several days.

A team of veterinarians is currently waiting in the state of Washington to try to approach the J-50 killer whale to give him antibiotics in US waters. Prior to Thursday, however , no application was made to the Canadian authorities to try to treat the whale on this side of the border.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is working closely with the US Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to determine the best way to proceed.

“Our decision will be based on science and we will act quickly with our partners when conditions permit, to take appropriate action,” the ministry said in a statement.

Fisheries and Oceans officials say they are ready to act quickly if the response is to take place in Canadian waters.

We are ready to issue a permit for the best possible action plan for this whale without delay.

However, the Ministry clarifies that it must be ensured that the treatment attempt does not harm J-50 or other killer whales in its group. The meteorological conditions, the location and the still unknown cause of whale health problems are among the factors taken into account.

The southern resident killer whale is endangered. Only about 75 representatives of this species remain in the waters of the northeastern Pacific Ocean.

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