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Scientists concerned about endangered orca still pushing body of her calf


An endangered orca is not letting go of her newborn calf, whose body she has been pushing through the water for more than two weeks.

The whale known as J35 was spotted in coastal waters near the border between British Columbia and Washington state Wednesday with the carcass of her calf that was born and died on July 24.

Sheila Thornton with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says scientists are becoming concerned that the whale's behaviour will interfere with her ability to forage, but no intervention is planned. 

They spotted J35 while searching for another of the 75 southern resident killer whales, labelled an endangered species in both Canada and the United States.

Scientists on both sides of the border have been working together on an emergency rescue plan for a young female orca known as J50, that appears emaciated but continues to swim alongside her mother.

Brad Hanson of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says difficult conditions have prevented the teams from collecting breath and fecal samples but they are hoping weather conditions improve by Sunday.

– The Canadian Press