The ULPGC investigates the mortality of killer whales – La Provincia

The ULPGC investigates the mortality of killer whales - La Provincia

Magazine Science, that together with Nature, make up the two most important multidisciplinary scientific journals worldwide, publish an "e-letter" of professors, veterinary pathologists, Giovanni Di Guardo, from the University of Téramo – Italy, and Antonio Fernández, of the University Institute of Animal Health (IUSA) of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), in relation to the forecast of disappearance of 50% of the orcas existing during this century.

This work has been published as an annex to an article of great importance on the Conservation of Orcas in the oceans, signed by Dr. Desforges, in collaboration with a large number of international scientists, entitled 'Predicting global killer whale population collapse from PCB pollution', (Science, DOI: 10.1126 / science.aat1953), which concludes, that there will be a 50% reduction of killer whales during this century with possible risk of extinction in the future, involving PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls).

Despite the fact that these PCBs (group of chemical products used in electrical devices, capacitors, transformers, etc.) were banned in the USA in 1979, the concentrations found in the orcas samples analyzed are considered high enough to put population danger, attending to the data and models used in this investigation.

The annexed work of the veterinary scientists, in which the ULPGC participates, agrees on the need to confer higher levels of protection to orcas, as well as shares the results and concerns about the adverse role of PCBs. But, in addition, indicates that, based on data on Marine Mammal Health, and particularly in cetaceans (which includes the systematic pathological study of each stranded cetacean), the problem is much more complex, and more complete studies should be carried out that include , among others, evidence of the adverse effects caused, both, by persistent organic pollutants-POPs, and others, their combinations, as well as their interrelation with pathogens, as a cause of disease and death.

These individual and species-based studies have been systematically carried out on cetaceans stranded for 15 years in the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), in collaboration with different organisms and national and international institutions, public and private, which makes the IUSA_ULPGC a world reference in Marine Animal Health.

Elder Museum

It should be remembered that, within the theater project 'Canaries in Science', Elder Museum Museum of Science and the Technology that consists in the staging of some scientists who work in the Canary Universities. Last week, a work inspired by the life of the ULPGC professor Antonio Fernández, specialized in zifios, was presented. Canarias de Investigación Award, which carries out its work in the Institute of Animal Health and Food Safety of the ULPGC.
The play is entitled 'The dream of the zifio' and in it a security guard in the night shift and Professor Antonio Fernandez have a strange and emotional meeting full of references to the world of the zifios, the influence of the human being in the deteriorating health of the world and the Moby Dick movie that Gregory Peck performed on the docks of the islet on a night full of whale songs.


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