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” (VIDEO)

Published: October 25th, 2013 at 11:33 am ET


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.

Watch the CTV broadcast here

Published: October 25th, 2013 at 11:33 am ET


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73 comments to 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” (VIDEO)

  • papacares papacares

    Opps, someone forgot to inform the Orcas there is no immediate threat or danger – always interesting that scientists are quoted as if they were some credible authority. Just ask any commercial fisherman and they will tell you there is some strange and unusual stuff going on out there on the big blue pond

    • bo bo

      Thanks for this markww

    • bwoodfield bwoodfield

      More than likely are pushing this through ASAP so they can start pulling out the fuel rods and not have less worry about the rest of the world knowing when they screw up. I foresee the Fukushima cams will all turn off immediately, or very shortly after this is brought in.

  • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

    quick, get Ken Buesseler on this. If anybody can, Ken will give a definitive statement that more testing is required. We need to monitor the decline of life closely, in order to assure the safety of consumers

    • bo bo

      Kenny says he might be able to swim with Free Willy in the water outside Daiichi… but probably won't eat Willy.

  • Daisy207

    Since 2011??????? And what year is this?????? Has anyone thought to start getting some water samples in 2011? Perhaps testing the fish that they eat – in 2011? How about starting this two years ago???? How many people will it take that are starting to behave strangely, start having nose bleeds, have hair falling out, have skin rashes, teeth falling out, have thyroid problems or even cancer, mouth sores? Wait a minute – hasn't this already happened – especially in Japan – read early ENE articles. Check out recent problems at Malibu School where kids were relocated because teachers are getting thyroid cancer, have skin rashes, hair is falling out, – wait a minute – sound familiar – yet they are trying to blame it on mold?

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Malibu problems began in 2010, before 3/11.

      • Mack Mack

        San Onofre nuclear power plant was having problems for awhile.

        Remember whisteblower Ann Harris said that whenever a nuclear power plant powers up or down, they vent radiation into the air.

        • HoTaters HoTaters

          Yes, San Onofre likely vented a lot. The Japanese ivestigative reporter pretty well documented waste has been buried and improperly disposed of, all around the San Onofre area.

          Just wanted to mention the health issues at the Malibu school are primarily linked to toxic mold there. And it's documented the workers there have had health issues going back to 2010, prior to 3/11 and the recent San Onofre problems.

  • bwoodfield bwoodfield

    Just another canary dropping off it's perch. Sea lions, dolphins, star fish, pacific smelts, salmon, oarfish and now Orca. I'm surprised we haven't heard anything about humpback yet considering they eat krill, one of the lower creatures on the ocean food chain and probably one of first ones to uptake the rad particles.

  • Cyantheman Cyantheman

    None of the statements in the articles went as far to directly link it to radiation or even mentioned it.

  • Shaker1

    I think that if we lived a bit closer to the land we'd notice some striking changes there, also. It's been posted here before, mutated plants, diminishment of creatures, odd behaviors, odd health problems. I've worked for some very intelligent individuals in my time, having done much prototype work and one-off fabrications, for a years with a group of physicists with PHDs and high-security clearances. It's quite a shame that we make comedy out of the plight of intelligence, while the truly intelligent understand that plight. They not only could literally crunch 10-digit numbers in their head, but they also understood that something as simple as the competent use of a hammer was important. We don't understand causality trails, rely upon binocular views, and miss the intuitive leaps that are our real provenance as creatures. How much of our lives is spent in use of things we don't truly understand on even an intuitively intimate level? What's so difficult to understand about this? I live in Vancouver, WA, squeezed between the Pacific and Hanford. The karma is so thick that even on sunny days it can be be felt if one just takes a bit of time off from all the things one doesn't understand yet feels are so important to survival to look, listen; to recognize that even the most lowly are part of the environment and it's not doing too well. Sorry, I just grow tired of the need for 'scientific' (naturally pointed and narrow conclusions) for justified action. Original sin,…

    • brainheart

      You are just across the Columbia River from me. I have taken picture of mutations. The trees at Ft. Vancouver are dying from the inside out. I have a picture of one that the parks department removed. It looked like a coal mine inside the trunk. Completely hollow and black (fungus, algae, bacteria???) around the sides of the great big hole. I have documented sunflower, plum tree, dandelion and tree mutations and tree fungus. My GM-300 Geiger counter picked up readings above 4000 CPM outside one day. I have it inside 99% of the time, so I don't have any idea how frequently that occurs.

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Sometimes I feel like I've awakened in a twisted, alternate universe. But then I realize it's just a fallen world.

  • markww markww



  • markww markww


    ORIGIN TIME – 1710Z 25 OCT 2013
    DEPTH – 10 KM
    MAGNITUDE – 7.5




  • markww markww



    • or-well

      markww, stop shouting.
      Folks will read your posts or they won't.
      Same goes for the rest of us.
      ALL-CAP SHOUTING makes some skip a post entirely.

      • Phil Shiffley Phil Shiffley

        When I pull up weather advisories they are usually all capped. Was that post merely a cut and paste?

      • Bones Bones

        I'd just like to say that on comment sections I type as I speak. Perhaps, he was very upset at reading the news??? I often will capitalize a word to give greater annunciation in the reader's mind to that particular word. It loses that with everything being caps, but thank you Mark. Really appreciate that information! I love your inputs as well or-well, Mr. Artistic. 🙂

        OT: Gee, let's just keep saying more research and never make that research public if we even feel like doing it at all. What amazing scientists. I used to greatly respect my Uncle who is an astrophysicist PHD all that jazz, but his silence and downplaying since the beginning of the man-made disaster has upset me greatly and I've lost much respect for him. If I, a semi-intelligent person with no formal nuclear training, knows more than he about what is going on in Fukushima and it's ongoing and potential affects on the environment and life itself then who exactly are the experts? He shouldn't be saying, "oh, it's ok." He still eats salmon all that seafood. Some expert and that's my own family. 🙁

        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          Science has become too compartmentalized. For survival, physics majors should have had a year long college level biology course. And everyone need to study the real biological effects of radiation, not the lying nuclear physicists and nuclear industry and the government version.

          Why don't more medical doctors speak out?

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        True, but it does add emphasis if it's just a word or two, a phrase here and there.

  • dka

    Dr. Lance] Barrett-Lennard will loose his job soon, Harper has zero tolerance for negative environment science. It is not acceptable to trigger any kind of environmental alarm in Harper's conservative Canada.

    • Bones Bones

      Then he needs to start building a company or some independent flow of cash to sustain his work. Start building decentralized networks with independent scientists and start tackling these problems. On our side, we MUST be monitoring every damn thing we can. We must research techniques combative against radiation induced damage as well as cancer cures. We must test all water and food…period. The levels of contamination and specific isotopes must be on the label. Test children here for isotopes in their urine, hair, and feces. Try and develop technology to help Japan. Force Japan to bankrupt TEPCO and force Japan to lock those responsible bastards up for life. Force Japan to stop being in sole-control of Fukushima as this is global. If Japan is willing to let a small room of shareholders dictate to the world they won't clean this up and that they are making money yet, then Japan is a rogue state.(No one holding JPY has any real money.) Sorry, but most normal people would abandon social norms in such a HUGE catastrophe such as the stupid battery incident. THINK FOR YOURSELVES. Nothing gets done unless you make it so! Arghh, I hate that mentality of but nobody told me what to do. As if announcing to the world, "I AM ROBOT. ERP. PLEAZZEEE PROGROM ME."
      If someone already has the credentials, schooling, money PHD's make A LOT, and respect of colleagues then there is zero reason to be quiet. To be quiet is to be a slave, to speak the truth these days one must…

      • Bones Bones

        For the technical problems that would be encountered above, well gee wouldn't a whole new economy develop around this? That is the point of R&D right?

  • farawayfan farawayfan

    7.2 off Fuku, tsunamis warning issued.

  • moonshellblue moonshellblue

    7.3 earthquake off japan coast tsunami warning

  • jump-ball jump-ball

    CSEM is reporting one Honshu quake of 7.3:


    I'm looking for best and quick delivery deals on suits, masks and HEPA filters, and whatever else, in case of a series of further EQs and unit 4 finally falling. Have told my friends that not spending a few 100 dollars and remaining vulnerable to the upcoming Fuku crisis no longer makes sense

  • markww markww

    usgs update 7.5 japan tidal wave alert japan 3 foot or higher

  • farawayfan farawayfan

    When's the tsunami going to hit?

  • Socrates

    Energy too cheap to meter (if you don't count the costs of the destruction of the Pacific Ocean).

    Building dangerous nuclear reactors on a faultline in a tsunami zone with typhoons on top of an underground ancient river on top of fill dirt – sounds like they got a good deal on the real estate and were able to cut costs….

    Using outdated Mark I reactors with venting problems and fuel pools 100 feet up – what coild possibly go wrong? Storing spent fuel and using MOX?

    The events were totally unforseeable! Those whistleblowers were Chicken Littles with their "sky is falling…." Ups! The sky just fell! The whistleblowers tried to save Japan BEFORE this happened and lost their careers.

    All Tepco bonuses should be bestowed upon the whistleblowers since they honestly tried to prevent waste, fraud and abuse, while Tepco did the exact opposite.

    Our society does not reward good deeds…. Greed is rewarded, benevolent actions are punished. Profit has been elevated to god-like status and revered in our society whereas the environment and people are exploited. Workers are ordered to risk their lives and to live in cages. Dark Ages, here we come….

  • pkjn

    Human rights experts rap U.N. report on Fukushima radiation
    OCT 25, 2013 The Japan Times
    Human rights experts, including a U.N. special rapporteur, are criticizing a U.N. scientific report dismissing concerns about the effects of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster on the Japanese public.
    Speaking Thursday at an event organized by U.S. and Japanese nongovernmental groups, U.N. special rapporteur on the right to health Anand Grover took issue with the report’s conclusion that “there is nothing to worry about” for members of the public exposed to radiation from Fukushima.
    The report was prepared by the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      When they say there is nothing to worry about, and all news reports must be silenced about Fukushima, what they are really saying is that it is too horrible for words, (an ELE?).

  • Bones Bones

    '“the changes we’ve seen over the last two years are striking and beg an explanation,” says [Dr. Lance] Barrett-Lennard.'

    That right there is Dr. Lance saying in a PC way that he thinks the isotopes flooding the Pacific are causing this. I'm sure they have the data. I understand it takes some time, but give us the actual hard data. There are what thousands of radioactive isotopes from the spent fuel and they only test 2 or 3 usually (Publicly)? This means even if low levels of CS-137/134 are found other rad isotopes could be there because of multiple transport mechanisms. Whole counts of A,B,G,N on everything edible and land are needed and at every step of the food chain. I'm sure it's being done or has been, but will never be reported or 40 years from now maybe. This is just news gossip to change the bounds of discussion. If "Mr. Scientist" with all his amazing credentials is so intelligent and such an authority, how come he can't present any real hard data besides, "WTF is happening?" If I had his money, I'd train myself and do a survey of the whole U.S. and West Coast and coastal waters. You see, without hard data, you are almost forced, ALMOST, to argue from ignorance. Propaganda, propaganda. P.S. Enenews has been sounding the alarm since day one! "Sounding the alarm…" makes it sound as if the newspaper is some hitting edge publication, which couldn't be farther from the truth. This is journalism 2013; Tell me a story "source", ok write up and…

  • MichaelV MichaelV

    "Puzzling… Strange…Unusual…Odd…"

    Like the headline read, "Head researcher", in examining people's heads has no hypothesis that explains the spikes in the levels of ignorance in human beings. It all may have to do with the lack of integrity of these 'researchers'; accurate data that isn't valid in relation to the problem at hand.

    Motherf*****s can't say molten core, SPF fire, radioactive plumes, Pacific seafood contamination,…?

    I realize now that not getting a degree in science had less to do with my aptitude than the fact I don't think like a 'scientist', I speak up….

    HEY…! They're reporting a 7.8 quake 200 miles off the Japanese eastern coast… but no threat to the US…right.

  • Shaker1

    Yes, brainhead, I have seen the mutations here. I won't own a cell phone, so never have a camera handy like most, but they're in my yard. I came here to Vancouver from the desert, and really enjoyed the variety of bees here, from those the size of small ants through the big black bumble bees. This year they've finally begun to reappear in numbers. Last spring, it was really good to see robins, as the year before (2011) wasn't good for the birds at all. Sparrows that for a couple years in a corner of the house and usually raise two broods in a year barely raised one. I have blackberries with stems that seem to be three or four stems molded together into one. And dandelions, yes…I let them grow in my yard (for the bees) and don't mow until just before they're ready to seed. Too much to list…And all the rain and water. Coming from the desert and self-programmed to respect it, I can't help but have unsettling thoughts in the rain, and that in itself an unsettling thought. One thing I never seem to see mentioned is the uncovered reservoirs that Portland uses for drinking water. I would never want to see them covered, but one wonders.

  • How convenient to imply that Fukushima is to blame.

    British Columbia orcas have been languishing for a very, very long time, because of a toxic environment and war games by the US and Canadian navies, who use sonar that injures their auditory organs and more.

    "Military sonar and seismic surveys are other forms of underground noise that can damage or even kill whales, other cetaceans and fish."

    A new international study also blames increased tanker traffic for orcas' distress.

    "Orcas or killer whales in areas such as Haro Strait in the southern Strait of Georgia experience the highest levels of shipping noise despite those waters being designated critical habitat for their recovery."

    Read more – http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Whales+bombarded+constant+shipping+noise/9069372/story.html


    Whenever they do orca autopsies they find the most shocking amount of toxic contamination in them. Baby orcas also get poisons from their mothers' milk.

    Fukushima may finish them.

    But for the time being the BC tourism industry is exploiting them – while they last. It's disgusting.



    • bo bo

      People might finally start worrying 'then what's going to happen to Sea World?'

    • Bones Bones

      To say that because of all these other threats to these animals means Fukushima can't possibly be a contributing factor. That's like finding a dead fish on the beach with mercury poisoning and radioactive contamination and saying, "wow, mercury killed it (A heavy metal JUST like fresh fuel and most of the spent only not radioactive.) so stop blaming Fukushima for everything." Such hyperbole and oversimplification only obfuscate things.

      As if we are too stupid to realize that existing contamination has harmful effects which are COMPOUNDED by radioactive isotopes of heavy metals and other radioactive isotopes? When x level of "regular" contamination = y level of extinction/deaths then x + F = y + Fdeaths. That's pretty simple to get. Find the tipping point.

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        toxins work synergistically. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Toxic chemicals plus radiation is even worse than the deaths and genetic damage from toxic chemicals plus the deaths and genetic damage from radiation.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Yes, we humans and and other biological life are all now in very serious trouble…

  • Could Krypton 85 Gas And Open Air Fission Be Generating Massive Typhoons, One A Week Basis? via @AGreenRoad http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2013/10/could-krypton-85-gas-and-open-air.html

  • Krypton 85 – 1,800,000 Bq Radioactive Gases Released From Each Nuclear Reactor Vent Stack Each Second; via @AGreenRoad

  • Patrick-Henry Patrick-Henry

    "Experts fear there is something wrong with the environment."

    Really? Really Sparky?? Ya think??!

    There are only massive amounts of deadly radiation entering the ocean and air at a geometric rate.

    Can't understand why something might be wrong with the environment.

    Good God…

  • Patrick-Henry Patrick-Henry

    Tracy W…

    There is nothing CONVENIENT about blaming Fukushima…

    Don't downplay how damaging Fukushima is please.

    Thank you.

    • To Patrick-Henry: I fully understand your point.

      My post above lists only a few of the many issues that have been affecting sea wildlife and orcas in particular for many years.

      Orcas' immune system is so stressed that even without Fukushima their future already looked dim.

      There are many culprits. Ships' traffic and military sonar drills are two of them. The sea water around here shows significant toxic contamination. Fisheries are depleted.

      I live on Vancouver Island and in the summer we get a steady traffic of hundreds of cruise ships that dump who knows what in the water because we don't have legislation against it.

      I could go on and on. What irks me is that now some experts are noticing the orcas' decline and deliberately or not they want to blame the it on Fukushima.

      Fukushima is the last straw, the tipping point. But those responsible for the orcas decline have much to answer for. I don't want them to get away scot free and blame it all on radiation.

      The same with human beings. There is no reason why people in this part of the world should suffer from so much disease. It's pollution, fake food, bad habits, etc. Now that we get this shower of radiation its effect will be magnified by the already existing weakness of the population.

      The killing of the planet started way before Fukushima.



      • ftlt

        Don't forget the billionaire moron who dumped a ship load of iron up there on his own to test an engineered fix to climate change – with no charges filed…

        Reports of Orca disturbances followed this incident

  • ftlt

    To tie this directly to FUFU on here is yet a reach given the other issues the oceans and its flora and fauna are dealing with over the past 50 years or so..

    Is there any mention of radiation as a cause anywhere in this report???

    That said, the dates mentioned above are compelling and certainly bear investigation from a FUFU radiation standpoint…

    I would be interested to have this Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard speak to FUFU directly – be it yea or nea…

  • Socrates

    There is a collapse of fish and sea mammal populations. Radiation could be a factor.

    Condi Rice said we cannot wait for the proof to come in the form of a mushroom cloud. That thinking is reversed in environmental threats – we need to wait until every thing dies first (and all investments are protected and profits made), and then, and only then, we should take action…

    Meanwhile, Japan will officially control media releases about Fukushima. We have that rule, more or less, about oil and nuclear and the media.

    A handful of corporate interests control our press.

  • VyseLegendaire VyseLegendaire

    This is bad news.

  • SophieQ

    Really? Ocean life shows inexplicable signs of deterioration? Who would have thought that after Fukushima?

  • Jebus Jebus

    The "experts" say, "something’s wrong"


  • mairs mairs

    "The deaths are likely coincidental and not linked, he said."

    Is man the only creature who tries his best to NOT find links between the degradation of our environment and the dying off of animal species?

  • RonM RonM

    Orcas ARE the top of the food chain and eat lots of large sea creatures both mammals and fish that eat smaller fish that eat smaller fish,etc…that eat krill that eat plankton, therefore it is not astonishing at all that the Orcas might have radiation poisoning, especially since they migrate throughout the ocean and prey on other creatures that migrate throughout the ocean. I wonder how the baleen whales are faring since baleen whales actually skip the intermediate food chain and feed directly from the krill and plankton like the smaller fish do but in larger amounts. To me it seems that the baleen whales may be eating less radioactivity because it hasn't been concentrated as it works its (the radioactivity) way up the food chain, also as the baleen whales migrate they may spend long periods of time away from areas where the plankton and krill have absorbed large quantities of radiation, but the Orcas even when in less contaminated waters still feed on creatures that may have migrated from heavily contaminated waters or that have concentrated levels of radiation from eating large quantities of less contaminated smaller sea creatures.

    The article about the Sailor and the dead Pacific was pretty horrific, I wrote a paper about the collapse of the Atlantic codfish industry years ago and included lots of info about overfishing, something like 90% of larger species were gone and that was ten years ago. Then there's the Great Garbage Patch and all that plastic and the…

  • Horse Horse

    "Tritium is produced as a minor product of nuclear fission. The yield of tritium is 1-2 atoms in 10,000 fissions of natural uranium, enriched uranium, or a mixture of transuranium nuclides."
    "For scientific purposes, the generally accepted value for the half-life of tritium, as measured by Mound Laboratories, is 12.323+/-0.004 years (4500.88+/-1.46 days)."
    "Food Survey Values:
    Tritium was detected in 4% of 200 portions of foods (raw vegetables, fruits, fish, and milk) collected near 33 nuclear reactors from October 1986 to September 1992(1). The maximum concentration observed in these positive detections was 70 Bq/kg, and most of the positive detections occurred in fish and vegetables in the vicinity of 4 sites"
    "tritium produced measureable, dose dependent, and irreversible suppression of immune capacity in affected fish."
    "It appeared that there was no threshold or significant dose-rate effect for either beta or gamma rays on germ cell survival, and that tritium beta rays were more effective than cesium-137 gamma rays in germ cell killing."

  • The beluga whales are also in trouble:

    Sounding the alarm over belugas’ decline


    "Researchers gathered in St. John’s, N.L., this month for a series of Fisheries and Oceans Canada meetings to try to discover the cause of a huge rise in the number of infant beluga whales being found dead in and along the St. Lawrence River during the last five years.

    They concluded that not only are the beluga calves dying in record numbers, but during the last decade, the St. Lawrence River Estuary (SLE) beluga population has fallen from 1,000 to about 900, after four decades of relative stability in the population. But no one really seems to know for certain how fast the population is declining, or why. What they do know is that the future is bleak for the SLE beluga — one of the most contaminated and threatened marine mammals in the world."