Inbreeding hinders population recovery among endangered Southern Resident killer whales


While a scarcity of Chinook salmon and other environmental factors may be pushing the Southern Resident killer whales toward extinction, a new genetics study has revealed that inbreeding has been exerting a powerful, overriding influence upon the small, genetically isolated population. The weakened genetic condition of the Southern Resident orcas, which frequent Puget Sound, could help explain why their numbers have generally declined over the past 25 years, while other orca populations in Alaska and British Columbia have been growing at remarkable rates. Experts have long suspected that inbreeding could […]