Wednesday 13 November 2019

Irish killer whales in danger of dying out from pollution

Killer whale
Killer whale
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

A group of killer whales that have become a familiar sight in Irish waters are at risk of dying out from pollution.

The pod of orcas - believed to have dwindled to approximately seven in number - migrate between the coastal areas of Scotland and Ireland.

They are believed to be the only resident population of the species in the region, according to local scientists.

Despite their threatening name, the killer whales have become quite a popular attraction in our waters.

However, latest studies indicate that contamination through pollution in their food may be making the mammals infertile.

"It's been long established that stranded whales have measured high levels of pollution and that this contamination is known to affect reproduction," marine biologist Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group told

"However, we have followed this particular pod for almost 30 years and it has not calved once. The theory is that live animals are suffering from the same contamination."

Dr Berrow said that some analysis in live killer whales has already been done, with some early test work already published.

"We are awaiting results and further collaborative testing. We should have more definitive answers within the next few months."

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