Experts prepare plan to capture, treat sick orca

SEATTLE (AP) — Experts say they are preparing a plan to capture and treat a sick, critically endangered orca if there is no way to save it in the wild.

They told reporters Wednesday they’re preparing to rescue the animal known as J50 if she separates from her family or gets stranded while alive.

NOAA’s Chris Yates says the objective is for the young orca to survive in the wild and contribute to the recovery of southern resident killer whales, without putting the rest of the orcas in her pod at risk.

Veterinarians believe they have exhausted treatment options in the field that included twice injecting the free-swimming whale with antibiotics.

J50 is one of just 75 of the fish-eating orcas that spend time in Pacific Northwest waters. Another in the same pod, known as J35, triggered international sympathy this summer when she kept the body of her dead calf afloat in waters for more than two weeks.