killer whale

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Study Gives Bleakest of Outlooks for Killer Whales

Study finds extremely high levels of PCBs in some orcas

(Newser) - It's less killer whale and more killed whales, at least according to a new study that found at least half the world's orcas could be taken down by ocean pollution in just a few decades. The culprit: highly toxic polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. "Despite a near-global ban... More »

3 Species Were Known to Go Through Menopause. Now It's 5

Aside from humans, they're all similar in one way

(Newser) - Menopause isn't a distinctly human condition—and now scientists have discovered two more species that experience it and then live well beyond it, bringing the total number to five. The four non-human species that go through menopause are similar in that they're all toothed whales. The new study,... More »

Grieving Mother Orca Finally Lets Go of Dead Calf

Tahlequah is believed to have carried her offspring's body for 17 days over 1,000 miles

(Newser) - The orca mom that carried the limp body of her dead calf for weeks , attracting worldwide attention for what many see as an undeniable expression of grief, has finally moved on. Per the Seattle Times , Tahlequah dropped her offspring's decomposing body after going to great lengths to hold onto... More »

A Week Later, Orca Keeps Diving to Retrieve Dead Calf

Update given on J35 as of Monday afternoon

(Newser) - An endangered orca that spends time in Pacific Northwest waters is still carrying the corpse of her calf one week after it died. Experts with the Whale Museum on San Juan Island have been monitoring the 20-year-old whale, known as J35, since her calf died shortly after birth Tuesday. Jenny... More »

A 'Gut-Wrenching' Mother's Grief in the Puget Sound

Orca won't let go of her calf, who died shortly after being born Tuesday off the Washington coast

(Newser) - What's being described as a "gut-wrenching" scene is playing out in Puget Sound, and it's been going on for at least three days. The Seattle Times reports on J35, an orca who gave birth on Tuesday only to witness her calf die 30 minutes later—and she'... More »

'Soul' of the Pacific NW Is Dying of Starvation

Killer whales are succumbing to a variety of factors, including pollution and lack of Chinook salmon

(Newser) - "I believe we have orcas in our soul in this state." Those were the words of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee earlier this year after forming the Southern Resident Orca Task Force , an initiative meant to keep endangered killer whales alive in the region. Contributing to their extinction there,... More »

Washing Ashore in South Africa: Great Whites With No Livers

Researchers think orcas are killing them

(Newser) - Over four days in early May, three dead great white sharks washed ashore in South Africa—with their livers missing. Researchers with the Dyer Island Conservation Trust did necropsies and came to the conclusion that, based on the sharks' injuries, orcas likely killed them and ate their livers, the researchers... More »

Dead Killer Whale's Body Holds Bleak Sign for Future

Lulu had 'shocking levels of PCBs' in her body

(Newser) - When Lulu died tangled in fishing nets in Scotland last year, she was one of the last killer whales in the UK. She was also "one of the most contaminated animals on the planet," Dr. Andrew Brownlow tells the BBC . Brownlow says Lulu's body contained "shocking... More »

SeaWorld San Diego Ending Shamu Shows Today

But 'Orca Encounter' shows don't sound all that different

(Newser) - SeaWorld San Diego is ending its long-running killer whale show after years of outcry and falling attendance prompted it to renounce theatrical orca displays and its breeding program, the AP reports. The show that featured killer whales cavorting with trainers and leaping high out of the Shamu Stadium pool will... More »

Blackfish's Tilikum Dies at SeaWorld

36-year-old orca was battling a lung infection

(Newser) - The orca who inspired the documentary Blackfish died Friday at SeaWorld, his home for more than 20 years, reports USA Today . A planned necropsy will give an official cause of death, though Tilikum had been suffering from a bacterial lung infection for some time. SeaWorld says that at an estimated... More »

Clever Seal Goes to Desperate Lengths to Dodge Killer Whales

'Most intense epic experience ever': boat owner

(Newser) - Seals are cute, curious, and apparently quite resourceful when they're trying to avoid becoming someone's dinner, per a story out of British Columbia. The CBC reports on the adventures of a survival-minded seal who, desperately trying to escape the clutches of the ravenous orcas pursuing it, hopped aboard... More »

SeaWorld: Blackfish Whale Has Potentially Deadly Illness

Tilikum, who's killed 3 people, has a lung infection

(Newser) - Tilikum, the killer whale at the heart of the SeaWorld-damning documentary Blackfish, has a lung infection that could possibly kill him, the Orlando Sentinel reports. SeaWorld announced the 35-year-old whale's illness Tuesday. "I wish I could say I was tremendously optimistic about Tilikum and his future, but he... More »

Here's Why Europe's Killer Whales Could Go Extinct

Study finds high levels of contamination from PCBs

(Newser) - Decades after they were banned, chemicals known as PCBs continue to pose a threat to marine mammals in the waters off Europe. The situation is especially dire for killer whales, the Christian Science Monitor reports. "We think there is a very high extinction risk for killer whales as a... More »

SeaWorld's Dead Killer Whale Is 3rd in 6 Months

Activists fear stress led to 18-year-old killer whale's death

(Newser) - SeaWorld San Antonio has seen its third whale death in six months with the passing of Unna, an 18-year-old killer whale suffering from a fungal infection. The whale, who died Monday, had been undergoing treatment for a pathogen, Candida, in her bladder for months and was under "constant care,... More »

SeaWorld Ending Orca Shows at San Diego Park

Next year will be the final year

(Newser) - Big news from SeaWorld: CEO Joel Manby announced Monday that next year will be the final year featuring killer whale shows at the San Diego park. Starting in 2017, a "new orca experience" with a "strong conservation message" will debut, he said, per CNN . As the AP puts... More »

SeaWorld Gets Blessing to Expand Orca Tanks

Activists outraged at government's recommendation

(Newser) - The government recommends allowing SeaWorld to expand the killer whale facility at its San Diego park, outraging environmentalists who say the tanks could be used to breed more orcas to be kept in captivity. The staff of the California Coastal Commission made the recommendations today ahead of the regulatory board'... More »

Blackfish Continues to Hit SeaWorld Where It Hurts

Q2 profits plunged 84%

(Newser) - Animal-rights activists celebrated a victory yesterday after SeaWorld announced an 84% drop in profits in the wake of continued controversy over its treatment of captive orcas. The Guardian reports SeaWorld's second-quarter income plummeted from $37.4 million to $5.8 million year-over-year. The company, which operates 11 theme and... More »

As Last Resort, Community Gets Fake Killer Whale

Oregon port has serious sea-lion problem

(Newser) - An Oregon community is bringing in some unusual help to try to fix their sea lion problem. They're hoping a fake killer whale from Bellingham, Wash., will do the trick. Terry Buzzard of Island Mariner Cruises has used the life-size mock orca to promote his business during parades and... More »

Grandma Sues SeaWorld Over Killer Whales

Joyce Kuhl sues for at least $2B over treatment of orcas

(Newser) - A South Carolina grandmother is suing SeaWorld in Florida for at least $2 billion over its alleged mistreatment of killer whales—the latest salvo in a series of attacks against the entertainment company, the Orlando Sentinel reports via the Guardian . In the new class-action suit, Joyce Kuhl is demanding her... More »

Why Killer Whales Live So Long After Menopause

Study: These matriarchs become essential group leaders

(Newser) - Female orcas typically stop breeding around the age of 40, which is roughly the time when their male counterparts tend to, well, die off. But once the females hit menopause, they can rather unusually live another 50 or so years—and now scientists think they know why. Because they've... More »

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