We can make a difference for killer whales

Raincoast's science indicates that we can make a difference, if we act now.

As top marine predators, the physical condition and population status of Southern Resident killer whales is revealing of the overall health of the Salish Sea. As conservationists, however, Raincoast scientists know these whales represent much more. Throughout the Pacific Northwest, this irreplaceable killer whale population has widely recognised social, cultural, and ecological values that cannot be overstated. Fittingly, Raincoast is compelled to do our best to conserve them, and now we need your help.

Two weeks ago, with our legal counsel Ecojustice and intervener partner Living Oceans, we filed a judicial review contending that the National Energy Board has acted unlawfully in their recommendation to approve Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion proposal. Specifically, the NEB’s failure to ensure measures to lessen or avoid the adverse effects of Kinder Morgan’s oil tanker traffic on the Southern Resident killer whales appears to be a legal violation of Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA).

With your support, we can continue to do our utmost to protect Southern Resident killer whales, including going to court to stop Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline and oil tanker project. Please help us to meet our associated costs that currently total more than $16,000.

The primary scientific element of Raincoast’s efforts to protect Southern Residents is our Population Viability Analysis (PVA). The assessment answers specific questions about the varying influences of Chinook abundance (i.e. food supply) and vessel traffic (i.e. noise and disturbance) on survival of killer whales, and helps highlight and rank the threats that must be addressed, while providing measurable targets for the change required. Given existing conditions, the Southern Residents cannot withstand the additional pressures that would result from proposed increases in Salish Sea vessel traffic, recover from their endangered status, and survive in perpetuity. By contrast, a 10% increase in prey, i.e. Chinook salmon, along with vessel traffic restrictions, would translate into positive population growth for whales. In short, we are confident that bold actions can make a difference if they are taken before it is too late.

To do nothing means that vessel traffic will increase in the Salish Sea and imperiled Chinook salmon will not recover;the Southern Residents face extinction under this scenario. However, our science indicates that we can make a difference, if we act now. Please consider a donation today so that we can all do our utmost to ensure these whales remain more than memories.

For the coast,

Misty MacDuffee, Wild Salmon Program Coordinator
Paul Paquet, Senior Scientist

Donations support costs associated with our work to recover Southern Resident killer whales.

You can help

Raincoast’s in-house scientists, collaborating graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors make us unique among conservation groups. We work with First Nations, academic institutions, government, and other NGOs to build support and inform decisions that protect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and the wildlife that depend on them. We conduct ethically applied, process-oriented, and hypothesis-driven research that has immediate and relevant utility for conservation deliberations and the collective body of scientific knowledge.

We investigate to understand coastal species and processes. We inform by bringing science to decision-makers and communities. We inspire action to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats.

Coastal wolf with a salmon in its month.
Photo by Dene Rossouw.