Category

Orcas

Orcas Stuck In Sea Ice During Climate Change

Orcas Explore Hudson Bay And Get Trapped By Sea Ice

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Approximately 17 Orcas have died in Hudson’s Bay over the past few years because they got stuck in the bay by the ice. The marine mammals went into the bay during the winter months when there was no ice present (during a period of warming) to stalk belugas and narwhals; however, the ice came back and the animals got stuck in the bay without food cause the animals to starve to death.

The local Orca population is estimated have around 70 individuals, which means any number of deaths could be a huge hit to the population for these long-lived whales.

Take a listen to the episode for more details on the story.

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new orca calf for the southern resident orca population

New Orca Calf Spotted With Endangered Pod Near Juan de Fuca

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Ken Balcomb, founding Director of the Centre For Whale Research, and his team have spotted a new Orca Calf on the Eastern end of the Juan de Fuca. This is the first calf since last year after a mother was seen floating her newborn dead calf for 17 days.

Ken is cautiously optimistic of the calf as he gauges the Orca’s chances at about 50% survival due to low salmon populations, increased underwater noise and bioaccumulation of toxins due to plastic ingestion as well as those found in salmon that the animal can find to eat.

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2 Orcas Predicted To Die

Grim Predictions For Southern Resident Orca Population In 2019

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Ken Balcomb is THE research expert on Southern Resident Orca Population in the Salish Sea area. Ken has predicted two deaths by summer 2019 based on the state of J17 (female, 42 years-old) and J25 (male, 27 years-old). He says both individuals look skinny compared to recent years and J25 is exhibiting “peanut head”, which is a sign of malnutrition as the head is smaller than the rest of the body.

Orcas Malnourished

J17 is the grandmother of the calf that was born last summer (2018) and died a half an hour later. It’s mother carried her dead calf for 17 days making international news. Ken suggests J17 probably underwent significant stress watching her daughter grieve her newborn loss for so long. Coupled with lack of food (chinook salmon), the grieving could have made survival difficult for J17.

Orcas Population Could Drop Lower Than 74 Individuals

The Southern Resident Orca population has dwindled to 74 individuals and may lose two or more this year due to a lack of food. Chinook Salmon populations have also declined due to damns blocking rivers, which serve as reproductive habitats for the salmon populations.

Lack Of Proper Policies

Canadian and US governments refuse to make hydro companies remove damns that are not in use anymore to help save the salmon populations within the Salish Sea. Instead, the US government recently approved a bill that will allow the culling of 1000 sea lions as they say the pinnipeds are responsible for the decline in salmon populations in the area.

Listen to the episode to get the full details and find out how the lack of food is changing the Orca population’s behaviour.

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