killer whales
J50 and family (J16s), September 3, 2018 (photograph by Dave Ellifrit)

The southern resident killer whale J50, also known as Scarlet, hasn’t been seen for several days and has been now presumed dead.

Ken Balcomb, head of the Center for Whale Research on San Juan Island in Washington state said the ailing orca who was being treated by scientist since early August was last seen Friday afternoon off the west side of the islands and hasn’t been seen since.

He believes she died between last Friday and Monday.

Scarlet is a three-year-old killer whale who was identified by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries to be in poor health in early August.

“The Center for Whale Research has had a vessel on the water looking for J50 for the past three days. We have seen all the other members of her family (i.e., J16s) during these outings,” Balcomb said in a release.

We are saddened to report that J50 is missing and now presumed dead.Her last known sighting was Friday, September 7 by…

Posted by Center for Whale Research on Thursday, September 13, 2018

She was also not seen on Thursday, where 60 whales from  J, K, and L pod were seen off Oak Bay and near Race Rocks.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tweeted shortly after the announcement stating they haven’t given up and will be continuing their search from the water and in the air.

J50 was part of the same family group as a mother orca who gained international attention earlier this year for carrying her dead newborn for 17 days.

There are just 74 southern resident killer whales left.


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