Strapped With High Health Costs, Taxpayers To Rescue Sick Orcas

As if human health care costs are not enough, you’ll now shell out tax dollars to “rescue” sick whales 

| Feds plan to capture ailing orca J50, announce public meetings

| Lynda V. Mapes, Seattle Times – Plans are being laid to capture J50, the ailing young orca, as efforts to help her in the wild have failed and her condition continues to decline.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is in charge of recovery of the critically endangered population of southern resident killer whales, has been quietly laying plans for capture of the whale for weeks.

[According to Smithsonian.com, “The Southern Resident killer whale population is just one population of the black-and-white whales, which worldwide are estimated to number in the tens of thousands.”]

Orcas have strong family ties that endure for life. Separation of young orcas from their mothers and families was routine during the capture era in Washington state, when orcas, especially in J50’s family, were rounded up and taken to aquariums.

The youngest and smallest were targeted because they were the cheapest to ship.

The piercing cries of orca parents as their young were taken away are well remembered by those who took part in the captures — including Jeff Foster, a member of a NOAA intervention team who used to capture orcas for aquariums and today is working for NOAA on the J50 response.

The agency said further intervention to help J50 will depend on avoiding harm to the rest of her family in J pod and the southern resident population.

As long as she is with her family, the federal government won’t take her from their care, according to a news release from NOAA Tuesday night announcing the capture plans that are in the works. Read more. 

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