A 3-year-old member of an endangered orca population in the Pacific North West found dead on a Washington State beach recently was blown up, according to Ken Balcomb, director of the locally-based Center for Whale Research.
The body of Sooke, was found on the beach on February 11th 2012, just days after the Canadian Navy held training exercises in nearby waters.
Experts performing an autopsy on Sooke’s carcass say that it will be at least a month before they are ready to release any firm conclusions on the cause of death but Balcomb, who examined the signs of trauma on Sooke’s carcass, has told the local San Juan Journal: “It didn’t die of disease or starvation. Clearly the animal was blown up.”
At the time of the naval exercises, an extensive network of hydrophones (monitoring sound underwater) in the area picked up a series of four loud explosions or implosions that remain unexplained.
Balcomb noted that the both the US and Canadian Navy conduct training exercises in a federally sanctioned bombing range located nearby in the Pacific Ocean.
Sooke was one of only three surviving females born to this threatened pod in 10 years and this population now numbers just 86 animals.
WDCS anxiously awaits the full results of this complicated examination.
Source: San Juan Journal