San Juan County officials are brainstorming local ways to protect Southern resident killer whales. Suggestions at the June 6 council meeting ranged from more enforcement of current state boating regulations to a 10-year moratorium on catching Chinook salmon in the county.
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A handful of families on the coast live in appalling conditions. Heavy industry and traffic have taken over their neighbourhoods. They now live amid significant pollution, and endure high risk of accidents on the busy byways cutting through their communities.
Healthy food has become hard to find in their neighbourhoods and is costly to obtain. Pregnancies often end badly. Few babies survive their first years. Even adults face increased risk of dying early.
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June is Orca Awareness Month in the Pacific Northwest. Officially declared in Washington several years ago, Oregon and British Columbia joined unofficially last year, and it’s a good thing they did. Orcas are in serious and life-altering danger, with seven adult southern resident killer whales lost last year, including the 105-year-old matriarch known as Granny.
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June is Orca Awareness Month, a time to show appreciation for our beloved orcas and to encourage a culture of stewardship to protect these majestic animals and their fragile habitat. A goal of this year’s Orca Month is to raise awareness of how the very waters that the orcas call home are posing a serious threat to their survival. This unique population faces a barrage of pressures in these troubled waters including toxic pollution, underwater noise disturbance, oil spills, and above all, a lack of their main prey: Chinook salmon.
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In September of 2016, the oldest living orca known to science, J2, was photographed near San Juan Island from a drone.
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The Southern Resident orcas J28 and J54. Credit: Center for Whale Research This time last year, everyone was celebrating what seemed like a step toward recovery for the endangered Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW), which make their home around the San Juan Islands.
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It’s been a bad year for the Salish Sea’s southern orca community. The Center for Whale Research says a second adult female has died. That brings the recent death toll to three. There’s more bad news. J28, the latest orca female to die, had a calf under the age of 1.
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The West Coast’s most celebrated marine mammal is in big trouble, and its supporters are pleading for the removal of four big dams that are killing off the species’ food supply.
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SEATTLE — Researchers who track the endangered population of orcas that frequent Washington state waters said three whales are missing or believed dead since summer.
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On March 6, the SeaDoc Society together with the National Marine Mammal Foundation and NOAA Fisheries assembled top U.S. and Canadian marine mammal experts for an urgent consultation on the nutritional condition of our Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW), the fish-eating orcas that have historically “resided” in the Salish Sea.
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