This past summer, the world’s attention was focused on the critically endangered Southern Resident killer whale population that inhabits the Salish Sea and its outside coastal waters. Tahlequah (J35) carried her dead calf for more than two weeks in a visible display of grief. At the same time, another young female, Scarlet (J50), was the focus of unprecedented Canadian and US efforts to administer medication and food. The death of these whales came on the heels of another loss, Cruiser (L92), a whale who should have had decades of life ahead of him.
After years of legal, scientific, and public outreach efforts requesting concrete action from federal agencies, Raincoast and our partners filed a lawsuit in September 2018 to compel the government to act in accordance with the severity of the crisis. This lawsuit was filed just days after winning our court case against the Trans Mountain expansion. With its seven fold increase in oil tanker traffic, this project would increase underwater noise, as well as the risk of potential ship strikes and oil spills for the Southern Residents.
In 2019, we will persevere on behalf of the Southern Residents in the courts, in the media, and with a new film documentary. Tweet This!
Raincoast science is contributing to a large and growing body of evidence that shows the current levels of Chinook abundance, ocean noise, vessel disturbance, and pollution, create conditions that make population recovery for the Southern Residents untenable. Consistent with this understanding, the federal government determined the Southern Residents face an imminent risk of extinction under present conditions. That said, there is hope if concrete action is taken now. Raincoast’s analysis shows that a 50% reduction in existing noise levels, combined with substantive efforts to increase Chinook abundance, could move this population toward recovery.
In 2019, we will persevere on behalf of the Southern Residents in the courts, in the media, and with a new film documentary. We will continue pushing the federal government to implement necessary threat reduction measures for these endangered killer whales, such as Chinook fishery closures, restrictions on Southern Resident whale watching, establishing refuges, and implementing noise reduction targets.
Your financial support is vital in allowing us to increase our efforts on behalf of the Southern Resident killer whales. Please consider a tax deductible gift to Raincoast today.