Researchers are “cautiously optimistic” that the health of resident killer whale, dubbed J-17 is improving.
The 42-year-old member of J-pod was spotted in the Haro Strait late last week and researchers from the Centre for Whale Research noted that its body condition has improved since December and January.
Researchers noted that the whale’s breath smelled “awful,” and it was the same smell other orcas gave off before they died.
J-17 has a condition known as peanut head and is synonymous with malnutrition.
There are 75 southern residents left and a calf that was born earlier this year is reportedly still alive.