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Grey whale off Vancouver Island given antibiotics after lesions found around tag site

Last Updated Apr 13, 2021 at 4:54 pm EDT

A gray whale is shown off the coast of Washington in this September 8, 2020 handout photo. Canadian and American officials say they're monitoring a grey whale that developed an infection after being tagged by researchers. The whale was last seen in the waters off Vancouver Island and the officials say it appears to be doing well. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries

Canadian and American officials say they’re monitoring a grey whale after they found lesions around the area where a satellite tag was attached by researchers. 

Officials say they’ve taken the whale’s breath sample and given it antibiotics, and it appears to be active and doing well in the waters off Vancouver Island. 

The animal is part of a small group of about 250 grey whales that spend their summers in the waters off British Columbia and Washington state.

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada designated the Pacific Coast Feeding Group endangered in 2017 and the pod is under consideration for protection under the Species at Risk Act. 

Martin Haulena, a veterinarian with the Vancouver Aquarium, says the whale is being monitored for the same type of fungal infection linked to a tagging that killed an endangered orca in 2016.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States temporarily suspended its tagging program after the death of the whale known as L95. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2021. 

The Canadian Press