BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Researchers claim to have discovered the trigger of pregnancy issues in killer whales. It seems that food scarcity is a problem around Washington State and its inland waters, which led to more danger for the already threatened orcas.
Why did killer whales fail their pregnancies?
Scientists have recorded orca pregnancies for the past seven years, and found that over two-thirds of them failed. They believe the pregnancy failures have been caused by stress, but what kind of stress? The amount of Chinook salmon has reduced significantly around Washington state.
This fish is preferred by killer whales, so they suffered a nutritional stress at the lack of their favorite food. Even though quite a large number of killer whales are getting pregnant, the lack of food and nutrients is enough for their babies not to be born.
Their primary food source is also endangered
In 2005, after the numbers of killer whales were cut down in half, they were listed as an endangered species. Unfortunately, scarce food is not the only things that puts them in danger. Direct human action threatens their habitat, since pollution is flourishing, and they might be victims of a ship collision any time.
The main threatening factor for killer whales around the West Coast is the lack of food. What is worrying about them is the fact that they feed primarily on Chinook salmon, which is also an endangered species in the area. Overfishing, massive pollution, and continuous urban expansion led to this salmon species to lose important parts of its habitat and become threatened.
Researchers suspect that toxins might be to blame for this food scarcity. However, they cannot tell for sure how big is their influence, since the samples they collected weren’t enough to offer a conclusive answer.
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