Tuesday, December 8, 2009


This Fall I attended a series of lectures by Brent Nixon. Perhaps the most compelling talk was on Orcas. This particular species is studied extensively from population statistics to pod structure and behaviors. Amazingly, nearly every Orca is observed whether it is transient or thrives in a resident pod. And every resident pod is matriarchal and ruled by the grandmother who survive up to ninty years.

What stuck me most is due to the effects of bioaccumulation, as they feed at the top of the food chain, adult females transfer up to 90 percent of environmental contaminants to their first born calf. According to Mr. Nixon, the result is 100 percent death rate. The following calves do fine and their mortality rate is more happenstance.

I looked for collaboration to the first born mortality statement. I also found scientist have been confounded for decades by the disappearance of calves and deducted to only count them in their population records after the calves were two years old.

How does one make sense of this? Do we resign our responsibility to let Orcas remain amusements for Sea World or "killer whale sightseeing rides?" Can we not see the sense that fragrance materials that are known hormone disruptor's or aquatic toxins might contribute to the Orca situation? Do we continue to negate these emerging chemical measurements when the solution is to simply revise our formulas now for fragranced products that are rinsed down the drain?

Mothers, would we be a trifle overwrought if our first grandchild does not survive their first year?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To help and understand the Orcas and their environmental stresses go to http://www.orcanetwork.org