One whale researcher fears sickly orca J50 is dead
At least one scientist that's been working to save a sickly young Southern Resident Killer Whale says he fears she is dead.
Earlier Thursday searchers located J-50's pod off the Juan Islands near Victoria. But the young whale was not with them, sparking Ken Balcomb of the U.S.-based Center for Whale Research to say she may be dead.
But Michael Milstein with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says searchers are not giving up:
" Unfortunately the J-pod was seen today without J50. That was in the area of Victoria. So that's unfortunate news, but we're going to keep looking."
J-50 was last seen alive 6 days ago on Friday, September 7th.
She was so thin an international team announced they were working on a plan to capture her, nurse her back to health, and then release her back to the wild.
Milstein says crews are ready to go if they do find her:
"We're continuing to search, because we don't want to leave any chances that she'd be out there still alive, and not having done everything we could to find her."
MiIstein notes J-50 has fallen behind her pod before, and the hope is she is still fighting to survive.