Two wayward killer whales die in freezing Alaska river, NOAA says
Experts will begin necropsy reports on the wayward whales that were found dead in an Alaskan river.
October 11th, 2011
11:07 AM ET

Two wayward killer whales die in freezing Alaska river, NOAA says

A team of four NOAA veterinarians and a killer whale specialist from SeaWorld, San Diego will begin necropsies Tuesday on two wayward killer whales whose carcasses were found in Alaska's Nushagak River, according to NOAA.

The two whales that died and another that has not been spotted since the weekend had sparked concern from scientists who said they had been seen 30 miles up an Alaska river where they normally wouldn't have been.

Marine mammal scientists from the National Marine Fisheries Service said the whales were likely suffering stress from being in fresh water for such an extended period. The scientists worried if the whales didn't head downstream soon, they'd be trapped in the river.

Water levels are dropping as colder temperatures reduce the flow from glaciers into the river. That could make it difficult for the whales to navigate certain sections of the river. And the Nushagak could freeze over by the end of October, according to the fisheries service, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA biologist Barbara Mahoney said killer whales are sometimes seen where the Nushagak empties into Nushagak Bay near Dillingham, but none had ever been reported this far inland. In fact, this is the first time killer whales have spent a prolonged period of time in an Alaska river, according to NOAA.

Officials said the orcas are in an area where they are unlikely to encounter humans, but they are asking that people stay 100 yards away for their own safety and that of the animals.

The fisheries service, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the local Bristol Bay Native Association are monitoring the situation to determine if and how the whales could be returned to salt water, federal officials said.

soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. leeintulsa

    @b: b, b, b... When they just put '@' somebody.. Or some topic.. No name.. They are what i wipe off my ass.. they are not people.

    You need a name to stand for anything.. That's right, Banasy. B, i am using you here to represent many.. I would list them, but i fear i will leave someone out..

    I'm callin' all you people out. You people that use a topic or @user as a user name instead of some identifyable monicker. Stand up and be counted. Or suck it.

    Is it an anonymous thing? Am i not anonymous enough for you? YET, i can stand for something?

    Hell's bells.

    October 11, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. GREENPEACE

    THE WHALES WERE DISTRACTED BY OCEAN CURRENTS MAYBE THEY HAVE AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE WERE SUPPOSED TO PICK UP ON BY THIS OCCURRING SOMETHING A SOUND IN THE ARTIC MAY OF PREVENTED THEIR USUAL DIRECTION BUT I DONT THINK ALL THE POSSIBILITIES HAVE BEEN LOOKED AT! NOWS THE CHANCE FOR TRUE SCIENTISTS TO OFFER THEIR SKILLS IN FIGURING OUT WHAT MAY OF CAUSED THE ORCA WHALES TO TRAVEL OFF THE BEATEN PATH. GOOD LUCK! MY SINCERE CONDOLANCES TO BEAUTIFUL NATURE OF THE PLANET

    October 11, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • adm1982

      i think you been smokin a few to many green pieces. do you have any proof to back your claim in this case? why dont you let the grown ups do their jobs now and you go back to hugging the trees. or better yet the next time a couple of orcas swim up the river you go give em a hug and draw them a map back to the ocean.

      October 23, 2011 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. Sam

    WOOOHOOOO! THEY ARE FINALLY DEAD! LET'S CHOP THEM UP. TIME FOR SOME GOOD EATIN

    October 12, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Celeste

      Tu devrais avoir honte de dire de telles choses ! ! !

      Qu'est-ce qu'elles t'ont fais ces orques pour que tu dises cela ???
      Rien

      HONTE A TOI ! ! !

      December 16, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. raven

    Hi leeintulsa!Ive never posted under any other name than this one . Not even once . Hi drako!

    October 12, 2011 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    @leeintulsa:
    I am SO going to c/p the next time someone does that to me!
    Btw, ;) thanks!

    You're so cute when you're in celebratory mood! :D

    October 12, 2011 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  6. PJRG

    Who wouldn't follow yummy salmon?

    October 12, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
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