"These are very intelligent animals, and the loss of this animal is quite profound for the matriline and everyone who witnesses it", said Sheila Thornton, lead killer-whale scientist for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
He said a different needle could have been used to allow it to deliver the entire dose, but he didn't want the animal to have the needle remain with her for a few days or longer before it fell off.
From the Center for Whale Research. It kept sinking, and the mother would raise it to the surface, ' said Ken Balcomb, senior scientist with the Center for Whale Research on San Juan Island, which closely tracks individual whales.
"Response teams today reached J Pod in Canadian waters and followed them into US waters near San Juan Island".
DFO researchers have spotted J50 and her mother, J16, in recent days off the west coast of Vancouver Island and in US waters off the Olympic Peninsula northwest of Neah Bay, Washington.
But ultimately, even if biologists are successful in bringing this whale back to a healthy state while keeping it wild, it still won't fix what is causing orcas to become sick in the first place: an extreme lack of Chinook salmon, their main food source, largely as a result of - you guessed it - overfishing, creation of dams, and habitat degradation caused by humans!
Still, most hope she'll drop her dead calf soon just to avoid undue stress.
While he is part of the core veterinarian team trying to save the whale, it was the first time he'd seen the animal in person.
Scientists are anxious that Tahlequah, or J35, is not getting adequate food because she has been carrying her baby for so long. They will need to be within roughly 16 feet of the whale to get a breath sample.
The group will prioritize short-term and long-term actions, many of which are certain to focus on recovering the prized salmon that the fish-eating whales like to eat.
It is not known if her family is foraging for her and feeding her, Thornton said, and she could not get a good enough look at her from the water Wednesday to assess her condition.
It's also not only a matter of weather; the whales themselves have to be in the right position and behavior to attempt a medical intervention.
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.
Washington Govenor Jay Inslee signed an executive order in March directing state agencies to take immediate action to help the orcas.
University of Washington scientist Deborah Giles said she was heartbroken for what is happening with the mom and child.
"We are ready to go", Hanson said. "But there are many species who do undertake this sort of behaviour, where, if a young has failed to survive, they will carry the carcass".