The mosquito plague of summer is fast approaching and with it comes the threat of diseases, such as St. Louis encephalitis and West Nile virus. Not just human picnickers and campers have to worry about mosquito-borne disease. Even the largest of captive creatures is in danger from the tiny pests.
Two orcas, or killer whales (Orcinus orca), kept in captivity have died from the two diseases mentioned above, reported the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.
"I think it is safe to say that no one would have thought of the risks that mosquitoes might pose to orcas in captivity, but considering the amount of time they unnaturally spend at the surface in shallow pools at these facilities, it is yet another deadly and unfortunate consequence of the inadequate conditions inherent to captivity," said Courtney Vail, campaigns manager for WDCS.
In captivity, the aquatic predators can't move around or dive as much as they do in the wild. The orcas spend time floating at the surface, especially while sleeping, and that makes them a tempting 6-ton blood smorgasbord for mosquitoes.