J-pod update via @whalesanctuaryproject: the j pod has headed out into open waters for a few days, so the team won’t be able to work directly with scarlet until the pod returns. meanwhile, noaa posted the following yesterday:
from noaa – “now that the response team has met all the initial goals for scarlet/j-50’s health assessment and treatment, and the j pod has headed out to open waters, biologists and veterinarians are taking stock of what they have learned so far. they are reviewing video footage and photos and processing samples to gain further insights into scarlet’s health and behavior. the department of fisheries and oceans canada, university of washington, center for whale research and other partners continue to monitor the whales and collect fecal and prey samples (e.g., fish scales) when possible. “the teams will also review the results of the feeding trial on sunday, august 12th, while they determine next steps. we are grateful to all our partners for their help, patience and support over the past few weeks. the response team thanks all of you who are following this story closely for your support and positive wishes. recovering these whales and the west coast salmon runs they depend upon will take all of us.”
photo by john gussman/noaa fisheries, under permit 18786
Latest updates on j-50 (scarlet) via @whalesanctuaryproject :
august 13: noon pt – from noaa:
favorable conditions yesterday allowed the teams to proceed with an experimental live fish release off the west side of san juan island to evaluate the process as a way to treat scarlet with medication and supplements.
under the direction of jeff foster of the whale sanctuary project, a lummi nation vessel released eight live hatchery salmon about 75 to 150 yards in front of scarlet, while teams observed from noaa fisheries and washington department of fish and wildlife (wdfw) vessels.
while she appeared to react to the released fish by quickly diving, biologists could not confirm whether she took the fish, and they are now reviewing aerial footage for further clues.
scarlet socialized with other members of j pod, at one point surrounded by a cluster of other whales but did sometimes fall behind in the strong current.
researchers collected a fecal sample from the pod but could not confirm whether it was from j50 herself. fecal samples can reveal whether the whales are eating and what they are eating, as well as providing clues about their health and gauging their stress levels by evaluating hormones such as cortisol.
the whales appeared to be headed back west toward the open ocean this morning, and teams were standing by for further sightings.
the @whalesanctuaryproject will be updating their website regularly to keep you informed on this situation - direct link in our story.
photo 1 by john gussman/noaa fisheries, under permit #18786 photo 2 by cher renke
photo 3 by katy foster/noaa fisheries, under permit #18786
Update on j-50 (scarlet) from @whalesanctuaryproject:
august 12: 8 am pt – from jeff and katy foster in the field:
we found j-50 (scarlet) near open bay, henry island and spent about 6 hours with her today. we spent most of the time working with dr. deborah giles and her crew from the univ. of washington trying to get a fecal sample and watching j-50’s behavior. we were able to get a sample but due to the close proximity of the animals it was difficult to tell which one it came from.
the j16’s (scarlet’s mother and close family) were fairly spread out and j-50 spent most of her time alone, at times over a mile away from the other animals. the tides today were very strong and at one point she swam in the same spot bucking the tides for more than an hour while the other animals continued ahead, looking like she was having a difficult time keeping up. we’re going to try to get some fish into her midday sunday.
photo: katy foster/noaa fisheries, under permit 18786
Yesterday, j-35 (tahlequah) vigorously chased a school of salmon with her pod-mates in mid-haro strait in front of the center for whale research for a half mile, no longer carrying the deceased baby that she had carried for at least 17days and 1,000 miles. her tour of grief is now over and her behavior is remarkably frisky. follow @whalesanctuaryproject for updates from the field.
photo of tahlequah (j-35) with her family aug 11. telephoto digital image by ken balcomb/cwr
J50/scarlet update: determined teams from fisheries and oceans canada spotted jpod again yesterday (8/8), this time in u.s. waters off the olympic peninsula northwest of neah bay, wash. they saw j50 with her mother, j16, also known as slick. it was a bittersweet sighting for the teams to also see j35, tahlequah, today, and witness the continued heartbreaking sight of her still carrying her dead calf, some two weeks since its birth. teams from @whalesanctuaryproject, @noaafisheries, dfo, and many other essential partners are ready to respond as soon as they are within range and conditions allow them to reach the pod and assess j50’s condition.
dfo photo of j50 and her mother, j16, off port renfrew, b.c., on tuesday (8/7). photo by brian gisborne, fisheries and oceans canada. #j50
A mother's grief via @whalesanctuaryproject:
for nearly two weeks, we have all been transfixed by the scene of a mother orca carrying her dead infant in what can only be interpreted as a display of profound grief and loss.
on july 25th, tahlequah gave birth to a calf who lived for only 30 minutes. who among us does not relate to the extreme stress and grief associated with a mother losing her child? motherhood and loss are universal.
as we join with tahlequah in mourning the death of her newborn baby, let’s also remember the mothers at marine display parks who, like her, have lost their infants to death or forced separation, and in their case without even any close family members to support them in their grief.
tahlequah’s mourning, along with the worldwide sympathy it has engendered, has given us all a moment to reflect on the universality of grief and loss. in the case of whales, both in the ocean and in captivity, it is profound and enduring.
read the post and watch the video - link in bio.
photo of tahlequah and her dead infant, by ken balcomb, center for whale research
‼️ urgent via our friends at @dolphin_project_rus: please share! two orcas have been captured in russia - fishermen are using firearms to prevent sakhalin group "ocean friends" to collect the evidence.
for the first time in russia, public monitoring over the capture of killer whales is conducted. the “ocean friends” group arrived to the capture location and set up a camp near the fishermen base in the nicholay bay, khabarovsk region. a group of volunteers performs public monitoring of the capture of killer whales for allegedly educational purposes, but in fact for sale to overseas aquariums (15 killer whales and about 200 belugas have been sold to china over the past 5 years). the attempt to film fishermen boats with a drone almost ended with the loss of it when they opened fire to prevent filming.
after lunch, the ship "yuri shvetsov" came to the nicholay bay - two captured orcas were kept in the containers on board. four containers for transportation of animals are installed on the ship. captain of the ship refused to let “ocean friends” team to get on board and check on condition of the orcas.
when “yuri shvetsov" ship started to go south at a fast pace “ocean friends” followed them and tried to take a footage with a video camera mounted on a pole, but fishermen had for nozzles ready to prevent it. also, the group received an o**l threat that firearms will be used of they try to fly drones again.
at the end of the day “ocean friends” monitored and photo-ided family of transient orcas that swam peacefully in the nicholay bay and did not suspect a possible threat to their youngsters. the family included seven individuals - they were hunting seals.
all the updates about this important expedition will be published under hashtag #orcacapture2018 please follow the news - we might need your help soon!