Another Orca Calf Spotted. So How Many Endangered Killer Whales Are There?
According to the Seattle Times, a fourth calf has been identified, potentially raising the population of Southern Resident Killer Whales to 81. A formal increase in the SRKW population should wait until the July 1 census, but until then we can regard the birth of four new Orca is a hopeful sign. At the same time, the continued decline of breeding females remains the most serious indication that the Puget Sound Orca are in jeopardy. Even if the four new-borns survive, this is only a small step in the much longer process of J, K, and L pods recovering fully. We should not make the same mistake too-often made in fisheries management, when one good recruitment year lulls managers into not enacting needed conservation protections. A Whale Protection Zone is needed even more for these younger whales to survive and thrive.