The government across from Vancouver Island has launched a new website to track the recovery of southern resident killer whales.
The website tracks Washington State’s progress on 49 recovery recommendations made by its Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force.
Two years of work have gone into developing these 49 proposals, which revolve around increasing food supplies for killer whales, decreasing disturbance from boats, reducing pollution and combating the impacts of climate change and human population growth. Website visitors can see whether each recommendation is in progress, inactive, or completed.
The online resource draws on a long list of studies and experts to give readers everything they need to know about Southern Resident Killer Whales. He then explains how whales are affected by declining Chinook salmon stocks, boat and sonar noise, oil spills, ocean acidification and the consequences of a warming climate altering normal patterns of melting snows.
“With less salmon to eat, people in the south are going hungry. As they lose weight, they process more metals and toxins stored in their bodies, which increases their risk of diseases and neurological problems,” according to the website. “The more acidic ocean water spreads underwater noise, making it harder for orcas to find food.”
The site aims to draw attention to the fact that the southern resident population is at its lowest level in over 30 years. Washington State aims to increase the number of whales by 10 over the next decade.
“It’s important that we save the southern resident orcas,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee said. “If they disappeared, we would suffer an unacceptable loss to our environment, our economy and our culture. These animals have been sacred to countless generations of people residing here.
Among the many partners involved in recovery efforts are the following Canadian groups: Georgia Strait Alliance, Marine Education and Research Society and Straitwatch.
The website (https://www.orca.wa.gov/) includes a link that allows users to listen to live hydrophones (underwater microphones), including those just in front of the Grand Victoria, which attempt to record orca calls, clicks and whistles.
Another section gives citizens ways to get involved with the whale recovery efforts.
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