What’s killing killer whales?

Courtesy of Pxhere

Courtesy of Pxhere

We all have a favorite animal, whether it is dangerous, cute, big or small. Our interest in animals can vary depending on our age. But what causes animals that are predators, such as killer whales, to die?

           Well, there’s further information to it than just that killer whales (orcas) die mysteriously. ZSL institute of Zoology states, “Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), such as organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are known to bioaccumulate in food webs and are potentially toxic to birds, fish and mammals. Although the impact of POPs on whales and dolphins remains largely unknown, a recent study led by ZSL scientists showed that very high PCB concentrations still occur in the blubber of several dolphin species across Europe.” This can show us that these microorganisms can not only affect us humans but can also affect large animals such as an orca.

        Another weakness that can lead the killer whales to their deaths are diseases. This weakness is similar to the parasites but instead of that it is a disease. According to the site whale facts, a study in 2020 says “As with all animals killer whales can face threats from diseases and bacteria that can have dire consequences on their long term health. In some cases these diseases may even lead to death. Killer whales have been observed with a number of different diseases and medical issues such as hodgkin’s disease, heart disease and skin diseases as well as stomach ulcers, tumors and respiratory disorders. In fact reports of killer whales dying from the West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis has been recorded.  Interestingly these cases have only been observed in captive killer whales suggesting that their lowered immune system may have been what led to their deaths.” This proves that all creatures no matter the size can be affected by diseases or viruses such as how us humans are suffering from COVID-19.         


       One thing is for sure this can give us a warning that parasites, viruses, and illnesses can cause animals to die but even if that is true many people don’t know but people are endangering these orcas. For example again from the website whale facts the articles state that “When it comes to being harmed by humans the killer whale can be affected either directly or indirectly and intentionally or unintentionally depending on the situation and interests of those involved. Unintentional threats may include Over fishing, Fishing equipment, Water contamination/waste, Oil spills, Noise pollution, and Ship/boat strikesIntentional/deliberate threats may include: Illegal hunting, and Unauthorized capture for research. Live capture for aquariums in some parts of the world. This tells us that even if we don’t mean to hurt animals we still cause pollution and other things that cause killer whales to die.

In summary, we learned that killer whales are dying and becoming endangered due to human accidents, diseases, and parasites. This shows us no matter how big or small you are all living things are vulnerable to diseases and illnesses such as Covid-19.