King 5 News (Seattle), Oct. 21, 2014: Baby orca death triggers alarm; The recent loss… is sounding off alarms since its been years since a baby orca has survived — “Researchers say there is no hope for a missing baby orca… The baby — which was born just last month — is nowhere in sight… The loss of yet another baby orca… A grim reality is taking shape… This is really kind of scary, because it’s been years since one of these little guys has survived… Babies are not surviving, and [biologist Ken Balcomb] says some whales appear pregnant for weeks, only to be seen later no longer pregnant… Some scientists believe the orcas… could be poisoning their own babies with toxic mother’s milk.”
- King 5: No orca births were recorded last year and it’s been 3 years since a baby… survived more than a year
- The Journal: [The mother's] 2nd offspring [also] died in early 2012
- Post Intelligencer: The loss of her 2nd baby must be especially traumatic
- Reuters: The number of orcas in ocean waters off the Pacific NW [are at] some of their lowest levels in history
- The Journal: [Orca] numbers continue to plummet… Chinook [salmon], the primary source of prey of the resident whales, [are at] historic lows. The population… is at a 30-year low… 30 years ago, there were anywhere between 3 to 9 babies each year
- AP: Two other whales are presumed dead after disappearing earlier this year
Interview with John Durban, NOAA biologist, Oct 7, 2014: The very skinny one, that is not what we’re used to seeing killer whales look like… You can see the skull… It’s in incredibly poor condition… While we were [taking photos] he disappeared and stopped swimming with his brother, and has almost certainly passed away… It’s a skeleton with skin… Another very skinny whale… she’s very slender… a depression behind the head… You can see the shape of her skeleton.
Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Jun 5, 2014 (53:00 in): I’m not sampling or analyzing [whales or other marine mammals for Fukushima radionuclides]… Agencies are doing this in a very, I’d say [laughs] ‘limited’ way… We should be making these measurements, we owe it to everyone… If something is happening, can we attribute it to one source of contaminants or another? Without measurements we’ll never know, so the concern will always be there… We should be monitoring… whales and seals… I haven’t seen any data that suggests it’s of concern, again that’s partly because I’ve not seen a lot of data… We need measurements.
Published: November 5th, 2014 at 2:07 am ET
- Experts: 100% death rate for baby killer whales along West Coast — ‘Alarm bells ring’ as no newborns have survived in past 3 years — “This is absolutely the worst thing possible”, pregnant orca dies with decomposing stillborn full-term fetus inside — “We’re going to lose them… they’ll be extinct for sure” (VIDEO) December 10, 2014
- Gov’t Investigator: Acute hemorrhaging found in dead owls along west coast — Mortality event began 8 months after Fukushima explosions — “In very poor condition… badly emaciated” when arriving in Pacific Northwest from Arctic May 3, 2014
- Experts: “Really an off year” — Pelicans starving in Pacific Northwest since 2011, killing baby birds for food — Breeding success “really poor” since 2011 — “I believe pelicans are responding to large scale changes” — “Sardine crash” persists in Pacific since decline in 2011 December 22, 2013
- Newspaper: Unprecedented declines in Alaska king salmon… related to impact from Fukushima? No comment, says NOAA biologist — Record low numbers seen in major fishery on Canada’s west coast, “alarming decrease” December 29, 2013
- Killer whales dying along Pacific coast — “Very sick, emaciated” — Population at lowest level in decades — Steep decline began after 2011 — No babies born in past 2 years — Alarming changes in behavior observed; Social structure is ‘splintering’ (PHOTO) September 5, 2014