Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Killer Whales Want to Survive

(Final research paper)

There are many sea animals endangered all over the world. Killer whales (orcas), from the dolphin family, are one of them. According to McCarthy (2008), fifty years ago killer whales started eating smaller sea animals instead of the big ones because humans killed 500,000 great whales. The problems start here with killer whales’ diet. The problem gets bigger when female orcas disappear. Fox News (2008) tells us that it is unusual to lose two young females at the same time. Because the killer whales have lost more females, that might cause a sharp decline in orcas’ population. According to Killer Whale (n.d.), “Scientists estimate that male killer whales in the Pacific Northwest have an average life span of about 30 years, while females can live up to 60 years” (para. 1). That illustrates only that when we lose one young female, we drop the possibility of female whales getting pregnant many years, so that makes the orcas’ number stop going up. There are many reason for killer whales to decrease (CNN.com, 2006); “Pollution and a decline in prey are believed to be the whales' biggest threats, although stress from whale-watch boats and underwater sonar tests by the Navy are also concerns” (para. 11). Moreover, according to Kern and Zachary (n.d.), any kind of mammals cannot breathe under the water, so that orcas should go to the top of the sea to breathe. Also, ScienceDaily (2007) says, “Orcas, which reach a length exceeding 25 feet and weights of 4-5 tons, already are the most PCB-contaminated creatures on Earth” (para. 1). According to Killer whale (n.d.), almost all of orcas’ body are black, but they have some white patches in their body. In Killer whale (n.d.), the authors write that “Adult males, known as bulls, can reach up to 9.8 m (32 ft) in length and weigh over 5,500 kg (12,100 lb). Adult females, known as cows, are smaller, growing to 8.5 m (28 ft) in length and weighing as much as 3,800 kg (8,400 lb.)” (para. 4). E. Kern & T. Zachary (n.d.), explain that killer whales have strong teeth and jaw that makes them able to kill and eat any sea animals. E. Kern & T. Zachary (n.d.) illustrate where killer whales live; they live in the Northern Pacific, Atlantic Oceans, the Arctic Sea, Western coast of North America, south of Africa and Australia. According to Killer whale (n.d.), orcas eat many kinds of sea animals, such as fish, squid, marine birds, and marine mammals. Fox news.com (2008) says that in the North Pacific there are three types of killer whales, which are in J, K, and L pods.

There are several ways to protect orcas from extinction. First, because people killed the orcas’ diet in the past, they should provide food for them. Next, scientists should focus on female killer whales, because if they are dead, that means the killer whales will become extinct. Finally, people should clean up the top of the seawater to protect these animals from air pollution, which came from human activity.

First, when people killed the great whales fifty years ago, that caused the prim diet of orcas decrease sharply, so people should feed them before they get angry. First, because people deteriorated killer whales’ natural life balance of eating some kinds of marine animals, they should feed the killer whales until the problem disappears. Second, people like to eat salmon and people killed orcas’ diet, so people should feed them salmon or any kind of food that killer whales like for many years to save orcas from extinction. Also, they can solve the salmon problem by increase salmon’s population, so killer whales can feed on them. For instance, “Six killer whale researchers say removing dams on the Snake River would benefit not only endangered salmon but also the killer whales of Puget Sound” (Dunagan , 2007, para. 1). In addition, if people can fix the salmon problem in every area that would increase the salmon’s population so that would help orcas find appropriate diet in every area. Therefore, every area has its own problem, so people should manage that as they can. Killer whale (n.d.) tells us that orcas eat more than 136 kg in one day. On the other hand, if both people and orcas eat salmon, maybe salmon will become extinct from the Earth. Also, in Killer whale (n.d.), the author illustrates that in every area in the North Pacific orcas have different food; for example, in the Bering Sea, which is close to Alaska, the orcas there eat 65 percent fish. Therefore, people should focus on what the orcas’ principal diet in the area is to make a balance of orcas’ food. Finally, if people do not feed killer whales what they need, maybe they will begin to have a revolution from starvation, so that will turn into uncontrolled behaviour. For example, if orcas saw a ship or boat when they are starving, that could make them very violent with humans. Killer whale (n.d.), explains “In the Pacific Northwest, pollution and overfishing have reduced salmon populations, limiting the availability of a favourite killer whale prey” (para. 19). Because of human bad activity in the past, people should reduce the fishing of orcas’ diet food, such as salmon.

Second, if scientists want orcas to survive, they should focus on female killer whales because of many things. First of all, E. Kern & T. Zachary (n.d.) say that “Killer whales lay one egg a year” (para.8). That makes people think about protecting females from death, because they did not bear many calves in one year. For example, people can focus on female killer whales in a period of time to create effective protection for them, but how can people do that? According to McClure (2008) “Females give birth in the winter, when food supplies are lowest. Yet that's also when they must lactate, which requires extra food energy” (para. 8). In fact, if we can do that in the winter, that makes not only the orca females have a good health, but also orcas’ babies too because when females have a good health, that means they can produce enough milk for their babies. On other hand, with this method we protect both female and baby killer whales. Next, when we lose a young female, we really lose more than just one. According to Killer Whale (n.d.), “Scientists estimate that male killer whales in the Pacific Northwest have an average life span of about 30 years, while females can live up to 60 years” (para. 15). Also, in McCarthy (2008), he claims that “It’s not unusual to lose older or younger whales, but losing two females in reproductive prime is a bit of a concern; since they typically have high survival rate” (para 15). Finally, if scientists want to increase orcas’ population, they should find a way to make different pods mate together and find out what way cause reproductive difficulty. According to Killer Whale (n.d.), “Mating occurs more often among killer whales of different pods to avoid inbreeding within pods” (para. 15). Also, some study found that dolphin encounter difficulty when they producing babies because the chemical substance. That mean orcas might have the same problem because they are from the same family and both of them are mammals (McClure, 2008). Those are the best ways to stabilize the orcas’ population.

Finally, orcas’ bad health was caused by toxic substances, ships surrounding them, and air pollution. First, in Killer Whale (n.d.), “Fish and other prey absorb chemical contaminants into their bodies, and killer whales feed on these contaminated animals. As a result, the number of killer whales debilitated by disease has increased” (para. 19). Also, according to Sciencedaily (2007), killer whales are one of the sea animals that are influenced by PCB. People should be careful about poison substances that cause sea animals’ disease. Some National communities do a great job; for example “The PCB cleanup is one component of NOAA’s recovery plan for the Southern Resident killer whales; it was proposed in 2006 and remains to be finalized” (Lubick, 2007, para. 7). In fact, if all the Northwest area does the same thing, that might improve the orcas’ population. Also, people should start to do the same thing as soon as possible in all the area in Northwest, because “orcas ... living in the Pacific Northwest will not recover from historic PCB exposures until 2030 or later, according to new modeling results published in ES&T (pp 6613–6619)” (Lubick, 2007, para. 1). Next, many ships in the North Pacific should move to another area, because in Killer Whale (n.d.), “Boaters have cruised too close to killer whale pods, preventing the animals from hunting for food or inadvertently separating mothers from their calves. Easily disturbed by boaters, killer whales may move quickly to evade a boat or they may exhibit aggressive defensive behaviours. These actions sometimes cause boats to accidentally collide with the animals and injure them” (para. 20). Finally, people should clean up the water surface because in Kern and Zachary (n.d.), they say that every mammal should go up to the surface to breathe. As result, the top of the water should be clean from thrown garbage, spilled oil, and so on.

According to CNN.com (2006), “Lawyers for the Farm Bureau and the Building Industry Association argue that those orcas do not meet the technical requirements for protection under the Endangered Species Act because they are not a ‘distinct population’ of the species” (para. 5). However, even if that true we should treat them as endangered species because people should take a long term view of the problem. Scientists should put them now on the list of endangered sea animals because they have many problems, such as lack of diet, unclean water, and so on. If scientists start to care for orcas from now on, maybe they can control the future difficulty. I believe that “prevention is better than cure”, so why do some people not take any process until the problem gets bigger? Why do they wait? There are many questions I want to ask to those people who do not want to put killer whales under endangered species protection. Maybe some people do not like killer whales because he kills a lot of sea animals, but those who think that are wrong. They do not know that killer whales help some sea animals because orcas eat predators who attack those sea animals. For example, Killer whales eat shark, which is the main reason for many sea species’ decline, so when orcas disappear from the earth, because of those scientists who do not believe that orcas should be protected as threatened species, they can imagine what the shark will do to sea animals when shark’s population increases because of orcas’ extinction.

In conclusion, people should save orcas not only because they are beautiful, but also to help protect them from extinction, so people should feed them enough food to survive, protect females as well as they can to increase the population, and detoxify any substances from the top of the water to protect them from poison. When we do all of that, orcas can live in peace, but all people should care about orcas, not only scientists. So what can you do to protect killer whales? You can do a lot of things individually, such as not throwing garbage into the water, not boating behind groups of orcas, and not eating salmon every weekend. The choice is yours.


CNN.com. (2006, March 23). Are killer whales endangered? Retrieved November 4, 2008, from http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/03/23/endangered.orcas.ap/index.html

Dunagan, C. (2007, November 20). Orca Researchers Call for Dam Removal. Retrieved November 22, 2008, from http://www.bluefish.org/orcacall.htm

Fox news.com (2008, October 27). 7 Puget sound killer whales missing, presumed dead. Retrieved October 28, 2008, from http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,444011,00.html?sPage=fnc/scitech/naturalscience

Kern, E. & Zachary, T. (n.d.). Killer Whales. Retrieved November 4, 2008, from http://www.ucls.uchicago.edu/students/projects/1996-97/Hillocks96/killer_whales.html

Killer whale (n.d.). Encarta. Retrieved November 4, 2008, from http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/refpages/RefArticle.aspx?refid=761579745&pn=2

Lubick, N. (2007, September 15). Orcas remain burdened by PCBs.
Environmental ScienceTechnoogyl, 41 (18), 2.

McCarthy, M. (2008, April 14). Killer whales blamed for decline of Scottish seals. The Independent. p. 14. Retrieved October 20, 2008, from Lexis Nexis database.

McClure, R. (2008, October 24). Are the orcas starving? Seattle P1 Retrieved November 22, 2008, from http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/384854_orcas25.html

Sciencedaily (2007, September 10). PCBs may threaten killer whale populations for 30-60 years. Retrieved November 4, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070910094122.htm

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