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