Team gives medication to sick killer whale at sea

SEATTLE (AP) — A team of whale experts has injected an ailing killer whale with antibiotics in a rare emergency effort to save her.

NOAA Fisheries says the international team reached 3½-year-old orca known as J50 Thursday in the waters near Washington state’s San Juan Island.

A veterinarian examined the orca. The team of experts gave her a dose of antibiotics through a dart and took a breath sample to help assess whether she has an infection.

NOAA says on Facebook that the team will decide next whether to feed the free-swimming whale live salmon from a boat. If things go well, the whale may then be given live salmon dosed with medication.

The orca is thin and in poor body condition. Another orca in the critically endangered group of killer whales has been pushing her dead calf in the water for more than two weeks, raising concerns about her health.