Saturday 26 October 2013

Killer whales

Head researcher “is sounding the alarm” over striking changes in killer whales off Canada and Alaska since 2011 
  • Unusually high mortality rate” and “odd behavior”
  • Experts fear something’s wrong with the environment”

25 October, 2013

Vancouver Sun, Oct. 24, 2013: There have been some puzzling changes in the behaviour of northern resident killer whales that live off the north-central coast of British Columbia and Alaska, says a marine mammal scientist from the Vancouver Aquarium. [...] “They weren’t vocalizing, and that was quite a striking change after years and years of being very familiar with how noisy they are and how easy to find acoustically,” [Dr. Lance] Barrett-Lennard said Thursday. [...] The team has also noticed an unusually high mortality rate among pod matriarchs, with seven or eight deaths among older females in the pod in the past two years. Normally, the team notices one or two deaths per year. The deaths are likely coincidental and not linked, he said […]

KOMO News, Oct. 24, 2013: [...] Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard says he fears changes in the ocean environment are prompting odd behaviour and an unusually high mortality rate. [...] Barrett-Lennard says the changes are striking and need further study. The alarming observations come on the heels of a study revealing that the number of killer whales in Puget Sound is dwindling – especially among reproductive age males. [...]

CBC News, Oct. 24, 2013: A Vancouver Aquarium whale researcher is sounding the alarm over what he calls “puzzling” changes observed in the resident killer whale pods that live off the northern coast of B.C. and Alaska. [...] “the changes we’ve seen over the last two years are striking and beg an explanation,” says [Dr. Lance] Barrett-Lennard.

CTV News, Oct. 24, 2013: [...] The whales have also been seen the past two summers travelling in smaller groups further offshore to find food [...]

News1130, Oct. 24, 2013: [...] Experts fear something’s wrong with the environment off BC’s coast. [...] “In the last couple of years, we’ve noticed the fish eating killer whales off our coast are very, very quiet. It’s a striking change.” [said Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard.] [...] too many matriarchs are dying and more research is needed because something is likely wrong with the ocean environment. The Orca Relief Citizens’ Alliance goes even further saying a loss of reproductive whales could lead to these Orcas becoming extinct.

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