A team of whale experts has injected an ailing killer whale with antibiotics in a rare effort to save her.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Fisheries says the international team reached 3½-year-old orca known as J50 on Thursday in the waters near Washington State’s San Juan Island.
A veterinarian examined the orca. Experts gave her antibiotics through a dart and took a breath sample to help figure out whether she has an infection.
NOAA says that the team will decide whether to feed the free-swimming whale live salmon from a boat. The whale could then be given live salmon dosed with medication.
The orca is thin and in poor body condition. Killer whales typically live until they are at least 50 years old, according to NOAA’s website.
Another orca in the critically endangered group of killer whales has pushed her dead calf for more than two weeks, raising concerns about her health.