Medication given to sick killer whale at sea to save her

In this Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, Southern Resident killer whale J50 and her mother, J16, swim off the west coast of Vancouver Island near Port Renfrew, B.C. J50 is the sick whale that a team of experts are hoping to save by giving her antibiotics or feeding her live salmon at sea. The experts now have authorization to intervene with medical treatment in both U.S. and Canadian waters once the critically endangered orca shows up again in the inland waters of the Pacific Northwest. (Brian Gisborne/Fisheries and Oceans Canada via AP)

SEATTLE — A team of whale experts has injected an ailing killer whale with antibiotics in a rare effort to save her.

NOAA Fisheries says the international team reached 3½-year-old orca known as J50 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 assess 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.

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.

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