Southern Resident orcas will starve unless we can save their food supply
We know how to save the 73 remaining Southern Resident orcas. But if we don’t act soon, all we’ll have to leave to our grandchildren of these awesome animals will be pictures and stories.1
The Southern Residents are starving.
For millennia, these powerful, intelligent creatures have hunted and raised their calves in the cold waters of the Salish Sea. But by building dams and destroying habitat, we’ve depleted the salmon they rely on for food, and starved these orcas to the brink of extinction.2,3
To save them, we’ll need to do all we can to spur decision-makers to action. That’s why we’re calling on Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to fully fund salmon recovery efforts.
Orcas are worth protecting.
We’re pulling for these orcas because they remind us of why we love the natural world, in all its beauty and surprising complexity.
Instantly recognizable by their black and white markings and massive dorsal fins, orcas are apex predators the size of school buses.
They maintain tight family bonds that last lifetimes, they work together to care for their young, and they communicate in “languages” unique to their pods.4
They’re dying out in part because Chinook salmon populations, which make up most of the southern residents’ diet, have steeply declined over the past few decades.
We can save the Southern Resident orcas by taking action now.
A Washington state task force convened to save the orcas has identified urgent steps decision-makers can take now to give them a chance to survive.
One of their key priorities: Fully fund plans to restore Chinook habitat and get the salmon’s numbers up again.5
We’ve been sending thousands of messages to Washington’s U.S. senators urging them to support removing the dams that block part of the Chinook salmon’s path to the sea. While they consider action, this is something we can get started on right now.
Orcas are worth fighting for. This proud species is facing dozens of threats, and that means we’re fighting for them on all fronts. Whether it’s calling for dam removal or replenishing salmon habitat, we’ll be there to ensure they can call the Pacific Northwest home for millennia to come.
Take action to help save the Southern Resident orcas from starvation.
- Lynda Mapes, “Southern resident orcas, including newest baby, visit Puget Sound,” The Seattle Times, September 19, 2019.
- “Southern Resident Killer Whales,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, last accessed October 11, 2019.
- Lynda Mapes, “Orcas survival may be impossible without Lower Snake River dam removal, scientists say,” The Seattle Times, October 15, 2018.
- Lynda Mapes, “FAQ: A primer on the critically endangered southern resident killer whales,” The Seattle Times, September 25, 2018.
- “Draft Year 2 Report and Recommendations,” Southern Resident Orca Task Force, October 2019.