No Time Like Now to Save Orcas
Center for     Biological     Diversity   

No Time Like Now to Save Orcas

Southern Resident killer whales

The critically endangered Southern Resident killer whale population has just 76 individuals, making its extinction highly likely. In early 2015 the National Marine Fisheries Service rightly concluded that, to keep Southern Resident killer whales from forever disappearing, it was absolutely necessary to protect coastal areas off Washington, Oregon and Northern California as critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act.

But then, in an about-face, the agency postponed a final rule protecting this habitat until 2018 or beyond, citing the need to gather more information. Scientific evidence, based on acoustic monitoring and satellite tracking, shows that the Southern Resident population uses these coastal areas for foraging during winter and spring.

Meanwhile the threats continue all along the orcas' migration route, from Washington down to the San Francisco Bay: food supply depletion, fast-moving maritime traffic, coastal pollution, ocean noise and fishing gear entanglements could all be minimized by new rules.

Using the form on this page, urge the Fisheries Service to move faster. Species with critical habitat protection are twice as likely to be on the path to recovery as those without.

Please take action by May 15, 2018.

Photo of Southern Resident killer whales courtesy NOAA.

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