Canadian War Games May Have Killed Orca


Read this story from on the recent discovery of a battered juvenile Orca discovered on a beach in Washington State, whose death may be linked to Canadian naval war exercises being carried out in the region around the suspected time of the whale’s death. (April 9, 2012)

The bloodied and battered corpse of a young killer whale whose death may be linked to Canadian war games has prompted an investigation by U.S. authorities.

The body of the southern resident orca — an endangered species in the United States — was discovered on Long Beach in Washington state in February, just days after HMCS Ottawa conducted sonar training exercises in the waters off Victoria, B.C.

A preliminary examination indicated significant trauma around the head, chest and right side of the orca known as L112, but results of necropsy and pathology tests and a scan of the animal’s head are incomplete.

Just hours after the navy sonar tests were heard, southern resident killer whales were spotted in the same area in the Haro Strait that divides Canada and the United States.

The law enforcement office of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, has launched an investigation into the death.

Brian Gorman, with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, said investigators haven’t made a connection between the naval exercise and the death of the whale.

“That’s the first thing we have to determine. Depending on where this investigation leads, I suspect [the investigation] may extend to the Canadians or it may not.”

Gorman said the investigation will attempt to determine if there’s been a violation of the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act.

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