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Image: Peter Flood

Biden Administration Sinks Emergency Petition to Shield Right Whale Moms, Calves From Vessel Strikes

Image: Peter Flood For Immediate Release, January 20, 2023 WASHINGTON- The National Marine Fisheries Service...
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An orca lies in the surf as people look at it.

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A fluke of a North Atlantic right whale lifts out of the water

WDC Fights Back as Maine Delegation Strips Protections for Endangered Whales

Image credit: Peter Flood UPDATE: On December 29th, 2022, President Biden signed the omnibus appropriations...

Southern Resident orcas lose another matriarch

In sad news during a strange summer for the critically endangered Southern Resident orcas, the Center for Whale Research (CWR) has announced the disappearance, and presumed death, of another matriarch of the Southern Resident community.

K13, Skagit, was a leader in K pod, estimated to be about 45 years old.  Her death brings K pod, already the smallest group in the Southern Resident population, down to just 18 members.  Like the loss of Granny late last year, the death of a matriarch is particularly hard.  Elder females carry knowledge vital to the survival of their families and are important to holding their pods together.

This summer has been an unusual one for seeing the Southern Residents in the Salish Sea, normally their summer feeding grounds.  This is the lowest year on record for sightings of the orcas during the summer in over forty years of the annual census by CWR.  The normal trends have been changing in recent years, as the orcas struggle to find food in their historic feeding grounds.

Prey depletion is the biggest threat to the survival of the Southern Resident community, and can compound the effects of other threats, including toxic contamination and vessel impacts.