A stranded orca on Saturday in Kadzand, the Netherlands, suffered a serious gum disease. The female also had inflammation in several internal organs. This was reported by the University of Utrecht, which examined the animal’s carcass.
Research from Utrecht University confirms that orcas were weak and severely malnourished. ‘The orca’s teeth were all loose and decayed. ‘The animal must have really suffered from eating,’ says biologist Lonneke IJsseldijk. In addition to gingivitis, there were also infections in many of the internal organs, including the heart valve and the meninges. and the reproductive system.
“So it can be said with certainty that it was an animal that was seriously ill and weak,” it seemed. More research remains to be done to determine whether all infections have the same or a different cause. Gastrointestinal research has already shown that there is no leftover food in the stomach. We only found a small plastic sheet, but that did not affect the cause of death. The gut more than thirty meters long was also empty. This orca has not eaten anything for several days.
Additionally, the research showed that orcas developed muscle damage. It appears that “marine mammals are perfectly adapted to life underwater.” “The gravity that puts pressure on an animal when stranded is very heavy. This has all sorts of consequences for circulation, respiration, and therefore the chances of survival in general. So surviving shore has ultimately been proven to be fatal to orcs.”
Meanwhile, a killer whale has also been identified. Spanish animal welfare organization Proyecto ORCA, which is committed to preserving protected orcas, identified the animal on the basis of the photographs. They haven’t been seen off the Spanish coast for the past three years, but according to the organization, the orca must be at least twenty years old. Until they appeared off the Belgian and Dutch coasts last weekend, orcas had never been seen so far north. It appears that “the disease may have driven her away from her natural environment.”
The animal was not part of the group of orcas best known for their attacks on steamboats in the Strait of Gibraltar. The animal belongs to an Iberian clan that particularly prefers Portuguese waters. The Spanish organization wrote on its Facebook page that it is rarely seen in the Strait of Gibraltar. Little is known about the orca that eventually became stranded in Cadzand, as it avoided contact with boats. She was usually accompanied by a male orca. “Maybe her son or even her brother.” Orcas are group animals that live in families.
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