What’s at stake
In 2002 the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) declared that the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW), also known as Orcinus orca, which make their home in Washington State waters during the summer months as endangered. According to NMFS, the key reasons for this listing included habitat degradation, prey depletion and human-generated underwater sound.*
Immediate action is required to maintain this population and its long term viability. Citizens of all ages across the entire region need to understand their connection to the environment and find ways to mitigate there own influence on these whales to help correct problems created by those in the past.
As of fall 2008 only 83 members of this endangered population have survived. The summer of 2008 alone has seen seven animals disappear, nearly a ten percent drop in the total population. This is one of the largest declines since intensive census data recording began in the 1970’s.
*G.J. Wiles 2004, Washington State Status Report for the Killer Whale. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia.