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The Latest: Teams heading out to help ailing Northwest orca

August 9, 2018

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on the plan to save a young emaciated orca. (all times local):

4 p.m.

Teams of whale experts are racing out to sea to help an ailing young killer whale spotted between the U.S. and Canada.

But they don’t plan to intervene to help a mother orca in the same critically endangered pod that also has them worried. That whale has been pushing the body of her dead calf for more than two weeks.

Michael Milstein with NOAA Fisheries says experts plan to do a health assessment of the young whale if conditions allow. The orca who was spotted Thursday off British Columbia is thin and in poor health.

An international team has been waiting for the chance to get close to the female killer whale to help her, including possibly giving her antibiotics or feeding her live salmon at sea.

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1:23 p.m.

Whale experts preparing to save an ailing killer whale now have authorization to intervene with medical treatment in both U.S. and Canadian waters.

Andrew Thompson with Fisheries and Oceans Canada told reporters Thursday that the agency will issue a permit for the orca J50 to receive medication if it’s found in Canadian waters. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had a permit for such efforts in U.S. waters.

An international team of experts is waiting to get close to the 3½-year-old killer whale known as J50 so they can carry out a step-by-step emergency plan that includes giving her antibiotics or feeding live salmon at sea. She was last seen off the northwest tip of Washington state.

Scientists are also worried about another member of the endangered orcas. J35 was seen Wednesday still pushing the carcass of her calf more than two weeks after the newborn died.

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