Yes, and at an alarming frequency. In 2002, it was estimated that nearly 25 percent of the whale moralities in the Saint Lawrence Estuary were from cancer. Beluga whales are one of the many marine mammal species affected by rising cancer rates, which scientists blame on increased pollution rates in the waterway. Studies have found that these cancers are at risk of sending Beluga whales to extinction concluding that, “particularly cancer of the digestive tract, was the cause of death of 18 per cent of juvenile belugas and 27 per cent of the adults.”
Yes, cancer has been found in beluga whales, including cancer of the small intestines, stomach and liver. Studies performed in the St. Lawrence River suggest that the cancer maybe be a result of industrial pollution. Toxins such as polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), all of which are either toxic or carcinogenic to animals and humans, have been found in high quantities in the St. Lawrence River. In addition to the development of cancer as a result from these toxins, beluga whales have also seen a weakness in immune system and lowered birth rates.
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