In Photos: Response Teams Try To Save Starving Killer Whale

Young orca

Orca rescue

(Image credit: Katy Foster/NOAA Fisheries permit #18786)

Scarlet, or J50, is a 3-year-old female killer whale (Orcinus orca) in poor health, but scientists are trying their best to help her. [Read more about the attempt to save this starving orca]

Peanut head

Orca rescue

(Image credit: Katy Foster/NOAA Fisheries permit #18786)

Scarlet's thin form means there's a dip at the base of her skull, where she's lost fat. Experts call this "peanut head," and it's not a good sign.

Small girl

Orca rescue

(Image credit: Katy Foster/NOAA Fisheries permit #18786)

Scarlet is small for her age, but in the past month she's looked particularly emaciated.

J Pod

Orca rescue

(Image credit: Katy Foster/NOAA Fisheries permit #18786)

Scarlet is part of the J pod, one of three small groups of orcas within the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale subpopulation.

Family ties

Orca rescue

(Image credit: Katy Foster/NOAA Fisheries permit #18786)

Scarlet's mom and sibling are also part of the J pod.

Mother and daughter

Orca rescue

(Image credit: Katy Foster/NOAA Fisheries permit #18786)

Scarlet seen here, to the left of her mother, J16.

Staying close

Orca rescue

(Image credit: Katy Foster/NOAA Fisheries permit #18786)

Scarlet seen here swimming with her sibling, J42.

Keep swimming

Orca rescue

(Image credit: Katy Foster/NOAA Fisheries permit #18786)

Scarlet, or J50, is emaciated and weak and has trouble keeping up with her pod at times.

Following along

Orca rescue

(Image credit: Katy Foster/NOAA Fisheries permit #18786)

Scarlet follows a member of her pod.

Keeping up

Orca rescue

(Image credit: Katy Foster/NOAA Fisheries permit #18786)

Observers noticed that Scarlet was having trouble keeping up with her pod when the current was strong.

Falling behind

Orca rescue

(Image credit: Katy Foster/NOAA Fisheries permit #18786)

At one point, Scarlet fell behind members of her pod by almost a half mile (1 kilometer).