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October 26, 2008 | Phuong Le, Le writes for the Associated Press.
Seven Puget Sound killer whales are missing and presumed dead in what could be the biggest decline among the sound's orcas in nearly a decade, say scientists who track the endangered animals. "This is a disaster," said Ken Balcomb, a senior scientist at the Center for Whale Research on San Juan Island. "The population drop is worse than the stock market." Though the official census won't be completed until December, the total number of live "southern resident" orcas now stands at 83. Among those missing since last year's count are the nearly century-old leader of one of the three southern resident pods, and two young females who recently bore calves.
March 7, 2008 | From the Associated Press
The white killer whale spotted in Alaska's Aleutian Islands sent researchers and the ship's crew scrambling for their cameras. The nearly mythic white whale was real after all. "I had heard about this whale but we had never been able to find it," said Holly Fearnbach, a research biologist with the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle who photographed the rarity. "It was quite neat to find it."
June 29, 2007 | Pete Thomas
The dolphin didn't stand a chance once it had been separated from its pod. The killer whales overwhelmed the smaller mammal. They hurled their massive bodies out of the water and splashed down on top of it, grabbing it with their teeth and tossing it through the air. "They were playing with it just like a cat plays with a mouse," Tyler Elzig, captain of the fishing boat Sea Horse, said of what he witnessed Sunday. "It was the most intense thing I've seen in my entire life on the water."
May 20, 2007 | From the Associated Press
A baby killer whale that beached itself last month should not be sent to a U.S. aquatic park, environmentalists contend, arguing that such a move could set a precedent that would encourage trafficking in marine animals. A tug of war between a Mexican marine park, environmental groups and the government has emerged over Pasqualita, an 8-foot female orca being nursed back to health after she was found along the Pacific Coast.
April 11, 2007 | From Times Staff Reports
A trainer at Sea World Adventure Park was slightly injured Tuesday when she was bumped by a killer whale and fell to the pavement, officials said. The trainer was sitting beside the whale's pool helping with a sonogram when the whale moved suddenly. The trainer hit her head and was taken to a hospital for an examination.
March 3, 2007 | Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
After a second day of discussions with SeaWorld officials, Cal/OSHA on Friday agreed to withdraw a report that predicted that a trainer at the park will someday be killed by a killer whale. The agency agreed to rewrite it's investigators' report to stick to only the facts of a Nov. 29 incident in which a whale dragged a trainer to the bottom of the pool at Shamu Stadium several times before he escaped.
March 2, 2007 | Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
SeaWorld officials Thursday hotly disputed a finding by state investigators that it is "only a matter of time" before a trainer is killed by one of the park's killer whales. "The trainers recognize this risk and train not for 'if' an attack will happen but 'when,' " said a report by the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health. The report, released Tuesday, follows an investigation into a Nov.
December 1, 2006 | Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
Officials at SeaWorld Adventure Park ordered a "complete" investigation Thursday into why a 5,000-pound killer whale injured a veteran trainer and dragged him to the bottom of a 36-foot-deep pool at Shamu Stadium. Even as he was being held underwater Wednesday, the trainer, Ken Peters, 39, persuaded Kasatka to free his foot from her mouth by stroking her back. As several hundred horrified patrons watched, Peters swam to the top of the pool.
October 29, 2006 | Rachel La Corte, Associated Press Writer
Several orcas that died during captures for marine parks more than three decades ago may provide a wealth of information about Puget Sound's remaining killer whales. Up to five orcas are believed to be buried on Whidbey Island, about 40 miles northwest of Seattle. A team of experts with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of Washington and the Orca Network want to exhume the remains for DNA analysis.
July 3, 2006 | Eric Lucas, ERIC LUCAS lives in Seattle. He is a travel and natural history writer.
THE ORCAS OF Puget Sound are the victims of a painful irony: The more popular they become, the more miserable their lives are. What torments these 90 or so creatures are whale-watching boats -- a buzzing, fulminating flotilla crowded with tourists who want to get as close as possible to killer whales. How close? The boat operators have a voluntary code that is supposed to keep them 100 yards from the massive animals. Scaled down to human terms, that guideline translates to 20 yards.
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