With the condition of sick orca J50 growing increasingly dire, scientists are now considering a last-ditch plan to capture the emaciated killer whale for treatment.
“Most of us think J50 is really sick,” Vancouver Aquarium head veterinarian Martin Haulena said.
“She is in such poor body condition that every other whale that has ever looked like her has already passed away.”
Globalnews.ca coverage of J50
J50 has been dosed with antibiotics and anti-worming medication but so far efforts to treat her have been unsuccessful and they’ve noted a decline in her condition over the last month.
So now, if the whale gets separated from her pod or gets stranded on a beach, a plan is being discussed to take her into captivity so she can be fed and given intensive medical treatment.
While veterinarians know such a move would be controversial, they say the other option is to let the whale die, which would be a major setback for the population of just 75 remaining resident orcas.
“What’s important here is that all these people have this common goal of whatever happens to her, we want to do the very best we can to find out what’s wrong with her, treat her successfully and reintroduce her back to her family as quickly as possible.”
— With files from The Canadian Press