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Team Gives Medication To Sick Killer Whale At Sea

SEATTLE (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A team of whale experts has injected an ailing killer whale with antibiotics in a rare emergency effort to save her.

NOAA Fisheries says an international team reached the 3½-year-old orca known as J50 Thursday in the waters near Washington state's San Juan Island.

Killer Whale J50
Orca J50 with sister J42. The poor health of J50 concerned fish and wildlife experts so much that they intervened in the waters near San Juan Island. (credit: NOAA Fisheries West Coast)

A veterinarian examined the orca. The team of experts gave her a dose of antibiotics through a dart and took a breath sample to help assess whether she has an infection.

NOAA says on Facebook that the team will decide next whether to feed the free-swimming whale live salmon from a boat. If things go well, the whale may then be given live salmon dosed with medication.

Killer Whale J50-2
(credit: NOAA Fisheries West Coast)

The orca is thin and in poor body condition. Another orca in the critically endangered group of killer whales, the adult female J35, also known as Tahlequah) has been pushing her dead calf in the water for more than two weeks, raising concerns about her health. NOAA officials say her condition is being monitored.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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