Search for orca, delcared dead, continues

Despite being declared dead by the Senior Scientist with the Center for Whale Research, Canadian and U.S. authorities continue a search for J50.

The team still holds out hope the young endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale may be alive, and that they will be able to capture her for treatment and release.

The extremely sick and emaciated young orca has been the focus of desperate efforts to save her life.

But the man who made the sad declaration, Ken Balcomb, says when last seen a week ago J50 was in bad shape:

 " A young whale of this size and condition is not at all likely to survive that long, so we have declared her decreased in order to sort of end this trauma for everybody."

Balcomb says despite the lack of a corpse, the evidence she has died is strong:

" J50 was last seen last Friday, a week ago, in the evening, at Lime Kiln Park off San Juan Island, swimming north in Haro Strait. And after that nobody, in spite of a great deal of searching, has found her. We have spotted her family a number of times, she's not with the family." 

Balcomb says 42 of the endangered whales have died in the last 10 years, and the death of baby whales is bringing more urgent attention to their plight.   There are now just 74 Southern Resident Killer Whales left.

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