Rise in killer whales sightings linked to melting ice

Date: 1/4/2007

Scientists say rapidly-melting sea ice is partially to blame for a five-fold increase in killer whale sightings in some parts of the Canadian Arctic. A researcher with a joint University of Manitoba and Fisheries and Oceans Canada monitoring project, said the trend concerns Inuit hunters who fear increased competition for food. There were only six killer whale sightings reported in western Hudson Bay in the 1980s, and six more in the 1990s. Since the year 2000 there have already been more than 30. In areas that never saw a killer whale prior to the 1940s, their visits are now an annual occurrence. Although the end of commercial whaling in the early 1970s could be affecting the numbers, it is thought there is a strong correlation between declining sea ice and increased sightings.

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