Recent research has shown that killer whales are spending more time in Arctic waters due to the receding sea ice.
Unfortunately, this increased activity and predation may lead to an ecological imbalance in the area.
The latest finds were announced at the 181st Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America by Brynn Kimber from the University of Washington. The talk, titled “Tracking killer whale movements in the Alaskan Arctic relative to a loss of sea ice,” took place on December 2nd, 2021.
Commenting on the findings, Kimber said:
“It’s not necessarily that killer whales haven’t been reported in these areas before, but that they appear to be remaining in the area for longer periods of time. This is likely in response to a longer open water season.”
“Although there is high spatial and interannual variability, the September Arctic sea ice minimum is declining at an average rate of 13% per decade, when compared to values from 1981 to 2010. Killer whales are being observed in the Chukchi Sea (in the Arctic Ocean) in months that were historically ice covered and more consistently throughout the summer.”