the population of Killer Whales?

From: Howard Garrett (
Date: Mon Feb 21 2000 - 14:09:07 EST

Mr. Howard Garrett:

My grandson has asked for assistance with a science project. He has spent
the afternoon at the library researching. We have searched the WWW for
about an hour now and have decided to ask for your help.

What is the population of Killer Whales? And, if available, a trend in
their population over the past several years. The answer must be supported
with a source and if applicable, a web site where the information may be

If you can, head us in the right direction, or provide the answer. Either
will be appreciated. And it may even make me a hero (I will give
appropriate credit, of course).

Thank you.

Jim Meyers

Dear Mr. Meyers,

        You may be surprised to hear this, but there are no reliable estimates of
the total killer whale population worldwide. In the 1960's Soviet
scientists published estimates of more than 100,000, mostly in the
Antarctic, but we subsequently learned that the Soviets had killed over 900
orcas around the Antarctic around that time. Thus those estimates were
tainted by a tendency to overestimate the population to justify the
killing. I can only give you a subjective guess, which is that there are
fewer than 10,000 worldwide, and that that trend is probably stable or
downward due to killing for predator control, diminishment of prey fish and
environmental degradation. Unfortunately I don't know of any published
source for that information.

Howard Garrett
Tokitae Orca Conservation Foundation
2403 So. North Bluff Rd.
Greenbank WA 98253
(360) 678-3451

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