A recently published study represents decades worth of data collected from orca necropsies around the world in an effort to understand the reasons behind killer whale deaths and determine whether they are harbingers for larger environmental change. An orca necropsy checklist was developed and distributed globally, resulting in an increase in killer whale necropsies. The whale deaths were affected by several factors, including man-made toxins, infectious diseases and food shortages, according to the research.

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