Orcas dying due to lack of food: researchers warn

Orcas dying due to lack of food: researchers warn

The endangered orcas (killer whales) that frequent Washington state waters are starving and dying due to lack of food, according to a new research.

Researchers tracking the endangered population of orcas said in a statement that at least three whales are either missing or have died since summer this year.

The Center for Whale Research, which maintains whale records for the federal wildlife authorities, said that the most recent deaths of a 23-year-old female whale dubbed J28 and her 10-month-old calf dragged the current population down to just 80 orcas.

During the center’s July 1 census, a 42-year-old female whale was reported missing, with many experts believing that it might have died. In its latest statement, the center stressed that the current population of orcas in the area is among the lowest in the last many decades.

Ken Balcomb, a senior scientist with the center, said mother whales and their babies dying due to scarcity of food and malnutrition because they do not have enough food to eat. These whales have a strong preference for typically larger and fatter fish called chinook salmon, but this species has declined drastically over the past years.

In addition to lack of food, orcas are facing threats from pollution and increasing number of boats and ships in the sea. The specie was listed as endangered in 2005.


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