Investigation Launched Into February Orca Death

Apr 5, 2012

Officials have launched an investigation into the death of a young female orca from a pod of the endangered marine mammals in Puget Sound. The orca washed up near Washington’s Long Beach in February. The cause of her death is controversial.

Preliminary reports suggest the whale suffered extensive hemorrhaging in the soft tissues of the chest, head and right side of her body. That has some orca experts suspecting the injuries may be from an underwater explosion or other human activity.

Now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement has launched an investigation. Vicki Nomura is heading the effort.

Vicki Nomura: “The toughest part of conducting an investigation like that is proving the actual violation. When you have a dead marine mammal there’s very little information.”

Orca L-112 may have been dead for a week before she came ashore. That makes it difficult to pinpoint where she was when she died.

The Navy is permitted to conduct missile practice in it’s training range off the Northwest coast, an area where orcas are known to spend time.

Copyright 2012 KUOW