Killer whale J50 is shown off the coast of Washington State in this August 12, 2018 handout photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - NOAA Fisheries, Katy Foster)

Sickly southern resident killer whale ‘J50’ spotted alive

Researchers have been watching the ailing killer whale for weeks.

An American whale research organization says an ailing killer whale has been found alive just hours after it was announced the young orca had been separated from her family pod.

In a Facebook post Monday, the Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbour, Wash., says the female Southern Resident killer whale known as J50 was found mid-morning, and the centre’s researchers were in the water with the animal.

Michael Millstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a statement earlier in the day that J50 wasn’t seen with her pod when a group of biologists was studying them Sunday.

Millstein added that Fisheries and Oceans Canada saw J50 lagging roughly one kilometre behind her mother and brother, who were nearly three nautical miles behind the rest of the J Pod when last sighted on August 30.

He said J50 had lost a considerable amount of weight over the past several months and marine biologists and veterinarians from both sides of the border were working to stabilize the orca.

The three-and-a-half-year-old whale is one of only 75 Southern Resident killer whales that continue to travel the Pacific waters between British Columbia and California.

Related: Killer whale still ailing; scientists last spotted her on Saturday

Related: Emaciated orca gets first treatment after being spotted in B.C. waters

The Canadian Press

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