Orca Killed by Satellite Tag Leads to Criticism of Science Practices

The death of a rare killer whale in the Pacific Northwest has been linked to a tagging effort, causing an outcry and re-evaluation by the science community.

They bounced around the coast in a 22-foot Zodiac, a team of federal scientists with a dart rifle trying to nail the dorsal fin on a killer whale. The seas had been calm when they came across the pod of orcas along the Pacific Ocean near the U.S. border with Canada. But then the winds exploded and the waters turned rough, and the satellite tag and dart they fired missed the mark and smacked the water.

It was February 2016, and the scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had been trying to attach tiny satellite transmitters to the endangered cetaceans to track where they go in winter, to help see why their populations are so depressed. So the researchers

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