This green sea turtle is taking a leisurely swim in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Adult green sea turtles are unique among sea turtles in that they only eat plants, feeding primarily on seagrasses and algae. Despite this plant-based diet, green sea turtles can weigh 300 pounds or more!
I’m currently writing a 20 page review paper on persistent organic pollutants in killer whales, and it has been a real eye opener.
Killer whale populations all over the world, including my own local populations, are absolutely loaded with toxic organic compounds such as PCBs, PBDEs, and DDT. These compounds are interfering with reproduction, the immune system, the endocrine system, and maybe even more.
They’re wreaking havoc and doing serious damage to killer whale populations that are already struggling from food shortages, like the southern residents.
All of these pollutants originate from us—humans. We’ve caused this. And even though we banned and largely reduced the usage of many of these compounds, they’re not going away anytime soon, and we’re going to see the effects of them for generations to come.