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(Seattle, WA)  --  Southern resident orca J50 is now presumed to be dead.  The Center for Whale Research founding director Ken Balcomb declared J50 presumed dead yesterday afternoon after a search for her by boat and plane and from shore failed to turn up any sightings of her.  J50 was last seen September 7th and was not spotted among yesterday's superpod gathering of dozens of whales from J, K and L pods near Race Rocks.  Researchers say they plan to continue searching for her but that the prognosis is not good.  Balcomb says the loss highlights the fact that the southern resident killer whales are running out of reproductive capacity, and extinction of this population is looming.

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