UPDATED: Sick orca J50 declared dead by 1 group while scientists remain hopeful

Only 74 southern resident killer whales remain

J50, the ailing killer whale that has been the centre of attention for Canadian and American scientists throughout the summer, has been declared dead by one – but not all – research groups involved in rescuing the orca.

Her last known sighting was Friday, Sept. 7, according to the latest update by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

READ MORE: Ailing orca at centre of international rescue efforts missing for days

The Center for Whale Research, which declared J50 dead on Thursday afternoon, said it has had a vessel on the water for the past three days on the lookout for J50 but were unsuccesful. All other members of her family have been spotted during these outings.

But NOAA nor the DFO have declared the orca dead just yet.

“The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting aerial search and teams are searching by boat in likely locations in U.S. & Canadian waters. We have not given up,” NOAA said in a statement, urging anyone who sees the young orca to call the stranding hotline at 1-866-767-6114.

In previous updates, researchers have said it’s not unlike J50 to dissapear for several days before being spotted swimming alongside her mother.

The four year old has been suffering from parasitic worms and “peanut-head syndrome,” which means her head is smaller than her body due to malnutrition. Officials had been injecting J50 with broad-spectrum antibiotics, by way of dart gun, in hopes of bringing the ailing orca back to health.

WATCH: J50 injected with antibiotics

READ MORE: U.S., Canadian researchers consider capturing ailing orca J50

J50 is one of 75 southern killer whales left on the planet.

Capture plan considered earlier this week

A rescue operation involving “hands-on physical examination” was part of discussions earlier this week on next steps possible to help J50 and her JPod.

On Wednesday, NOAA and the DFO said capturing J50, a four-year-old orca suffering from starvation, would only be an option if it didn’t harm other whales in J Pod and is the only option to allow her to contribute to the recovery of the population.

“The overriding priority of rescue is to evaluate, treat and rehabilitate J50 to give her the greatest chance of survival while ensuring her return and reunification with her family as soon as possible,” the agency said at the time.

Just Posted

Discontent City expecting decision on injunction tomorrow

Lawyer representing individuals involved with homeless camp says he’ll be advised of judgment

Nanaimo United will step on home turf for soccer opener

VISL Div. 1 men plays at Merle Logan Field this Saturday, Sept. 22

Downtown Nanaimo hotel project moving forward

PEG Development submitted an updated permit application for a proposed hotel at 100 Gordon St.

Close to $10,000 worth of tools taken from construction site in Nanaimo

Theft happened overnight Sept. 12-13 on Old Slope Place

OPINION: Crowded ballot contains reasons to be encouraged

Somewhere within a list of 44 candidates, there’s a city council that can work in Nanaimo

VIDEO: International Day of Peace activities planned in Nanaimo

Unity Spiritual Education Centre of Nanaimo planning public walk, labyrinth dedication Sept. 21-22

Candidate lists finalized for Nanaimo, Lantzville, RDN, school district

Nomination deadline passes in advance of Oct. 20 local government elections

Beefs & Bouquets, Sept. 20

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Council reverses past practice, will broadcast meetings during election campaign

Nanaimo city council votes 5-4 to continue with broadcasts

Porsche and Subaru dealerships can proceed with planning in north Nanaimo

City council unanimously allows rezoning application process to move forward

Departure Bay school parents concerned about rotating learning space

Eco-school students being taught in library and picnic areas, say parents

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

Most Read