Marine Mammal Science & Conservation

Dead Orca Baby 1


Sad news from yesterday: we got a report of a dead Orca baby lying in the rocks close to Reine in Lofoten. We went there and found it lying in between the rocks, it was freshly stranded and probably dead only for a few days. It was a male, ca 2.5m long and well fed, no signs of starvation or sickness could be seen.. However there was a big wound on the left side of its head, it is impossible to say if that was the cause of its dead or if this happened post-mortem, when smashing on the rocks.

I took some skin, blubber and meat samples for toxin investigations and a tooth for DNA studies. This study is kindly supported by the CarbonFixFoundation and Paul Thompson, Marianne MacEachern and Eric Fokke helped me with sampling and documenting this sad event.

From other areas in the world we know that as much as 50% of the newborn calves die during the first years, but there is no proven explanation for that high mortality rate. One suspicion is that fat soluble toxins from our products (such as PCB’s), which are concentrated in the mothers milk (from her breakdown of fat into milk), are causing growth disturbance, immune system failure and changes in the hormonal balance of the newborn baby and that can cause its death. We will wait for the results of the Lab and then tell you more…

In the meantime I would need to get any Orca reportings in Lofoten, the group that the dead Orca Baby belongs to, hasn’t been seen in a few days and I wonder whether they have left after that incident. If somebody has seen any physical contact between humans and the whales please contact me (info@ocean.sounds.com), it could have been a boat or shootings…. you never know.

Thank you for your help and support!

Heike

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