The critically endangered Southern Resident orca whales are starving in their ancestral waters of San Juan County, Washington. Lack of Chinook (King) salmon is a primary cause, but the whales are also suffering from excess vessel noise and disturbance, interfering with their ability to hunt and detect prey. The San Juan County Orca Protection Initiative seeks to extend vessel distance regulations, creating a 650-yard bubble around the whales so they have access to their maximum foraging range.
The San Juan County Orca Protection Initiative was created by Lopez Island orca advocacy group, Southern Resident Protection. It is an effort by the San Juan Island community to give the whales the freedom to hunt, communicate, rest and travel with less interference by vessel traffic. San Juan County waters have been the historical feeding grounds of the Southern Resident orca for thousands of years. During the summer months, a crucial feeding period, the whales are followed and/or surrounded by whale watching and recreational boats for an average of 12 hours per day. Studies have shown that this constant vessel noise and disturbance is having serious consequences. The whales are starving to death in their own home waters. While other, long term measures (such as breaching dams) are being pursued, the Southern Resident orca need to be able to hunt and forage as successfully as possible. Increasing distance regulations will vastly improve their chances of catching Chinook salmon and other prey.
The Southern Resident orca are a unique species that have existed for 700,000 years. There are only 75 whales left, with 25 females of reproductive age, only 18 of which have produced calves in the last 24 years. Only one calf has survived since 2015. These whales are highly intelligent, emotional, social creatures who are going extinct due entirely to human interference. Tahlequah, the grieving mother orca who carried her dead baby on her nose for 3 weeks and over 1000 miles was a member of the J Pod.
Your contributions will go directly to our campaign to put an initiative on the 2019 ballot to increase distance regulations for the Southern Resident orca whales. We are encountering significant legal expenses due to the recently filed lawsuit. Southern Resident Protection is registered with the FEC and PDC as a non-profit PAC. Thank you so much for your support of the Southern Resident orca whales!
For more information about our campaign please visit:
If you prefer to send a check directly to Southern Resident Protection, please mail to:
Southern Resident Protection
P.O. Box 215
Lopez Island, WA 98261