Starving orca J50 finally spotted alive; emergency action could start Wednesday

Lummi Hereditary Chief Bill James center, leads a blessing aboard a Lummi Nation Natural Resources Enforcement boat before departing Bellingham

An emaciated and endangered killer whale that scientists feared could be dead has been spotted swimming in the waters off Vancouver Island.

J50 is one of only 75 Southern resident killer whales that swim the coastal waters between British Columbia to California.

J50 and her brother in 2014.

"What they're working on this morning.to determine which method they're going to use, [is] based on the dose that they have configured for her", Rowles told ABC News on Tuesday.

J-pod recently drew an worldwide spotlight when another orca, J35, was spotted pushing the body of her dead calf through the water for more than a week.

Scientists and researchers are trying to find a way to help the ailing orca, killer whale, J50, who they said could die in a week or so.

There has also been a suggestion of attempting an oral administration of antibiotics via the live salmon, but injection remains the first priority. If J50 responds to the salmon, they will be considered as a way to administer medications that may not be injectable.

Paul Cottrell of Fisheries and Oceans Canada says a federal research team saw J50 Tuesday afternoon near Port Renfrew, B.C., but conditions were so foggy that they couldn't assess her condition.

Rowles said injections of antibiotics or sedatives have been given to other free-swimming whales or dolphins that were injured or entangled but it hasn't been done for free-swimming whales in this area.

"The fish would be distributed into the water in front of her", she said.

"We are hopeful that there is still a chance that we will be able to assist her with medical treatment to give her enough time to get nourishment and treat infections, if indeed that is causing her decline".

"It's been a number of days since Friday, so it was great to see J50", Cottrell said.

"Hopefully, they are doing well and foraging and doing what they need to do".

Springer was two years old when she was found in Puget Sound near Seattle, ailing and separated from her pod.

DFO has approved plans for a breath and fecal test on the whale, known as J50, if she's in Canadian waters, but has not yet received licensing approval for antibiotics. She was the first orca to be rescued, rehabilitated and successfully released back into the wild.

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