killer whales, toxics

From: Pieter Arend Folkens (
Date: Mon Nov 25 2002 - 00:26:47 EST

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    >How do toxic chemicals affect killer whales in the oceans?

    The direct effects are not entirely clear. What is apparent is that
    killer whales carry one of the highest loads of toxics of any animal
    in the ocean, at least in the Pacific Northwest. This condition is
    caused by eating sea critters that have toxics in their tissues which
    is then stored in the fat of killer whales. It also appears that the
    population of killer whales in the Pacific Northwest is in decline.

    A full-on, direct cause and effect between toxic chemicals and killer
    whales has not yet been made. However, it has been demonstrated in
    other mammals that similar chemicals cause a compromised immune
    system (making the animal more susceptible to infections and
    parasites) and birth defects.

    You may want to contact The Whale Museum at 62 First Street North,
    Friday Harbor, Washington, 98250 USA, for more information as they
    follow closely the situation with Killer Whales in the Northwest.

    I hope this helps.


    Pieter Folkens


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