SEATTLE (AP) — New photos show an endangered southern resident orca is continuing to decline, heightening concerns for her survival.
The Seattle Times reports National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researcher John Durban in his spring survey of the southern residents detected further emaciation in J17 since his fall 2018 survey.
The non-invasive survey was conducted by drone photography in conjunction with Sealife Response, Rehabilitation and Research.
The matriarch in her clan now has a pronounced “peanut head,” which indicates severe loss of body fat.
The survey also says J17’s daughter, J53, has deteriorated since last fall.
There are only 75 southern residents left, and the lives of matriarchs are critical to the success of their family.
NOAA called J17’s body condition is very poor and is monitoring but says there’s no plan at this time to intervene in the situation.