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June is Orca Month: A time to reflect on the Salish Sea and its threatened whales

posted Jun 15, 2018, 1:29 PM by Simon Bakke   [ updated Jun 15, 2018, 1:45 PM ]
(Content for this blog is courtesy of the Orca Month website. Visit their page for more!)

Working together from all corners of the Salish Sea, we can restore the habitat orcas – and humans – call home. Join us for a month of educational and celebratory events to raise awareness of the threats facing our Southern Resident orca population and what we can do to protect them.

The survival of the remaining 76 Southern Resident killer whales and the Chinook salmon runs that they depend upon are tied directly to the health of the Salish Sea.  This should be a wake-up call to our region that our own health, economy, and culture are at risk if the Salish Sea isn’t thriving. The single greatest threat to survival of the Southern Resident orca population is depletion of their preferred prey, Chinook salmon. And persistent organic pollutants, including banned toxics like DDT and PCBs, are present in alarmingly high concentration in Southern Resident orcas, making them one of the most contaminated marine mammals in the world. Additionally, vessel traffic increases underwater ambient noise, which may impact orcas' hunting, navigation, and communication efforts.

Orca Awareness Month, started by long-time orca education and advocacy group Orca Network, was created to bring together researchers, advocates, and orca lovers everywhere to raise the awareness of the threats facing these magnificent animals and provide a community to celebrate orca of the Salish Sea. 
For 12 years, June has been proclaimed Orca Awareness Month by the Governor of Washington, and for the first time in 2016, Orca Awareness Month was being celebrated in Oregon and in British Columbia.