Melting Arctic ice causes human-orca conflicts

Orca jumps out of water
Killer whale at sea near Canada, photo: Schaef1 via Canva

Killer whales are expanding their hunting areas to the north, as sea ice in the Arctic is shrinking at record levels because of global warming, American scientists say.

The new hunting grounds lead to conflict with humans. Four orcas were killed at the end of November because local fishermen and hunters see the animals as an unwelcome competitors, news agency AFP reported. Under Greenlandic law, it’s allowed to kill orcas.

According to a study by the University of Washington, the increased migration of orcas is a consequence of the longer period of time that the Arctic Ocean is ice-free.

“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,” co-author Brynn Kimber wrote.

The Arctic is heating up three times faster than the rest of the world, which harms the ice pack and the ecosystems that rely on it. Over the past 40 years, Arctic sea ice has declined by more than 13 percent per decade.

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