6 Ways to Help Southern Resident Killer Whales

With news about J35 Tahlequah carrying her dead newborn calf making international headlines and news of J50 Scarlet receiving human intervention from starvation, the endangered Southern Resident killer whales (or SRKW) are certainly in the spotlight. 

This population of orca is one of the most studied and most loved whale populations in the world. There are only 75 whales remaining. With more deaths than births in the past few years, there is much cause for concern. The SRKW face a variety of threats including habitat destruction, vessel noise and traffic- but the greatest of all is the loss of food source (Chinook salmon) due to dams in the lower Snake River.

1. Call and Write to Governor Inlsee & other Politicians

Call, tweet, message and write to politicians that have jurisdiction over waters the orca frequent. Respectfully tell them to breach to 4 lower Snake River dams and halt all salmon fishing! Peggy Oki and the Origami Whales Project has a great contact list and some letter templates. A handwritten letter can have a particularly big impact!

2. Sign Petitions

Sign and share the petition by PNW Protectors to save salmon and protect the orca.

3. Adopt an Orca

Symbolically adopt one of the SRKW through The Whale Museum. Be an ambassador for your whale- proceeds from orca adoptions support ongoing education, research and public outreach on behalf of the Southern Resident Community of killer whales.

4. Boycott Salmon

Salmon is the primary food source for the SRKW and they need salmon for survival. We humans have many other food sources. Make sure you are eating sustainable seafood- avoid eating salmon until their populations are able to recover.

5. Be a Whale Wise boater

The noise from engines and movement of vessels can disturb and stress orca. It can also cause them to swim away or change their path, using up more of their precious energy. Follow whale-wise guidelines when operating boats or paddling near whales.

6. Spread the word

Word of mouth has a huge impact. Start conversations in your families, communities, classrooms and on social media about the SRKW, the salmon and the dams!

These are a handful of things we can do that can make a huge difference and start a chain reaction. Without serious intervention, these whales are in danger of going extinct.

Check out Center for Whale Research and Orca Network for more resources and information.

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