10-Year Research Report Released on Endangered Orca Whales

10-Year Research Report Released on Endangered Orca Whales

The majestic killer whales or the big Orcas that you see from time to time in the inland waters of Washington State are known as the "southern resident" killer whales.

The latest research report of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was released on Wednesday and it says that since the 1990s, the number of these endangered whales has dropped from 99 to 80.

The research by NOAA found three basic factors responsible for decline in their numbers like pollution, boat noise and decline in Chinook salmon which is their primary food source.

They live in pods which are complex and cohesive family groups and are strictly fish eaters consuming a lot of salmon and squid also at times.

The wild "killer" whales are not considered to be a threat to humans, but there have been cases of Orcas killing or injuring the handlers at marine theme parks.

In late 2005 the resident population of Orcas that inhabits the waters of British Columbia and Washington State was included on the list of US Endangered Species.

Ever since that time, they have been studied intensively by the fisheries department of NOAA.

"While we have come a long way in understanding of some key aspects of these risk factors, and have improved our ability to protect these animals, many questions still remain," says a statement released by NOAA.

On Wednesday NOAA Fisheries released a report after almost 10 years of federal funding and productive partnerships with the community of killer whales and the study highlighted the accomplishments of 10 years of research and conservation of the population of this whale.

The research found that these whales are among the most contaminated marine animals with chemicals that are used by humans. It is also likely that these chemicals affect their health and their ability to reproduce successfully.

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