The population status of the false killer whale is poorly known; despite this species' vast range, it does not appear to be particularly abundant at any location. As a result, the false killer whale may be severely affected by relatively low-grade threats. At the current time, the main threat to this species is the worldwide decline in the predatory fish species that constitute a major part of its diet. False killer whales are also frequently caught as bycatch by the commercial fishing industries of many different nations, for example, hundreds are caught each year in the trawl nets used in Chinese coastal fisheries. The false killer whale is also notorious for stealing bait from longlines, which has led to retaliatory cullings, despite the fact that many of the animals are lost due to becoming caught on the hooks and drowned (1). Huge numbers of false killer whales, in one case over 800, are often involved in beach strandings (6). While there is no clear explanation for this phenomenon, it may be linked to the use of navy sonar and seismic exploration, which has been frequently implicated in causing strandings in other cetacean species such as beaked whales (1) (8).
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