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3 thoughts on “Two deaths, no births for Southern Resident orcas over the past year

  1. Great article on resident orcas. It’s all about habitat isn’t it? The rush to cash in on the geoduck gold rush has destroyed thousands of acres of natural tidelands in Canada and Washington State. What did we expect would happen?

  2. There are three reasons the southern resident orcas are endangered: lack of prey, toxin accumulations and noise and disturbance from vessels. These work together like a three-legged stool. You can’t talk about the number of salmon, Chris, without talking about how available they are to the whales.

    A recent study shows that the SRKW lose 5.5 hours of foraging time each day due to noise and disturbance from commercial vessels and the whale watching industry, specifically (ECHO 2017). It doesn’t matter how many salmon are in the sea, if the orcas can’t hear to find them.

    The simplest, most effective thing we can do to recover these whales in the short term is to turn down the volume in the Salish Sea, and make it easier for them to find food. Perhaps Scarlet would have an easier time hunting, and be in better condition, if the boats would leave her alone.

    1. Good point, Donna. The ability to find enough food is a function of the amount of food available and the whales’ ability to find it. With fewer chinook salmon around, it may be more important than ever for the whales to be able to locate them. Whether or not it is a three-legged stool, I’ve added a sentence to the blog post to emphasize the issue of noise.

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