Poisonous chemicals (Polychlorinated biphenyls; PCBs) which can be found in electrical machineries, threatens to kill approximately half the world’s population of Killer Whales over the next few decades. The chemical which was banned in the 70s due to its poisonous nature is still being leaked into the seas.
High concentration of PCBs has been found around the coast of Brazil, Gibraltar, Japan and the United Kingdom in 351 Killer Whales. According to research, it is more deadly in newborn calves as a higher dose is passed to them through the fat-rich milk obtained from the mothers. It also alters the behaviors of the whales and causes cancer, damages to the reproductive and the immune system.
“It is like a killer whale apocalypse,” said Paul Jepson at the Zoological Society of London, part of the international research team behind the new study. “Even in a pristine condition they are very slow to reproduce.” Healthy killer whales take 20 years to reach peak sexual maturity and 18 months to gestate a calf.
At the moment 700 species risk facing extinct, while 267 species worldwide are being affected by ocean pollution.
“This new study is a global red alert on the state of our oceans. If the UK government wants its Environment Act to be world-leading, it must set ambitious targets on PCB disposal and protect against further chemical pollution of our waters.” Jennifer Lonsdale, chair of the Wildlife and Countryside Link’s whales group, said.