PEACH BOTTOM, PA – According to POL Biologist Earl Sneed this year’s “Susquehanna River Orca Hatch Is A Total Loss”.
Biologists from across the globe converged on the lower Susquehanna this week after discovering what is described as a complete orca hatch loss.
“We estimate more than 500 orca eggs were laid along the shores of the Susquehanna this past fall and what we have discovered is total loss of hatchlings.” said Sneed.
Many are saying global warming is to blame.
Sneed explained, “Warm temperatures and water can be catastrophic to Orca spawn development. What we found were a number of undeveloped and mutated eggs.”
The International Union for Conservation of Nature assesses the orca’s conservation status as data deficient because of the likelihood that two or more killer whale types are separate species. Some local populations like those that spawn in the Susquehanna are considered threatened or endangered due to prey depletion, habitat loss, pollution (by PCBs), capture for marine mammal parks, and conflicts with human fisheries. In late 2005, the western Atlantic resident killer whales, which spawn in the Susquehanna waters, were placed on the U.S. Endangered Species list.
Biologists continue to search for viable eggs that may have survived but they are not hopeful.