Health

Rescue team rushes to help ailing orca spotted off Canada

Rescue team rushes to help ailing orca spotted off Canada

SEATTLE — Teams of whale experts on Thursday were racing out to sea to help an ailing young killer whale, but they don’t plan to intervene to help a mother orca in the same critically endangered pod that has been pushing the body of her dead calf for more than two weeks.

The young orca J50 was spotted off British Columbia and teams will do a health assessment if conditions in the waters between the U.S. and Canada allow, said Michael Milstein, a spokesman with NOAA Fisheries.

An international team of experts has been waiting for an opportunity to get close to the female killer whale so they can carry out an emergency plan that includes giving her antibiotics or feeding her live salmon at sea.

The 3½-year-old orca is thin, in poor body condition and may have an infection.