Help Save the Southern Resident Orca’s

It has recently been learned that J14 Samish of the Southern Resident Killer Whale Population (SRKW) is missing and presumed dead. It is highly unusual for an individual orca to go off by themselves and leave their pod, especially a matriarch. At only only 42 years old, the loss of J14 is a surprising one for J pod.


Copyright Valerie Shore Shorelines Photography

With the loss of J14 there are now only 82 orca’s left of the SRKW population. The recent gains from last years baby boom are being diminished quickly – so far this year we have seen the loss of L95, J55 and now J14.

From recent sightings and reports it now appears that J28 Polaris (only 23 years old) is very ill and looking emaciated in a recent encounter. Emaciation is typical sign of illness and/or starvation and can be seen when a whale starts to develop what is referred to as a “peanut head” (a loss of blubber behind the base of the skull) and is usually an indicator that death is not far off.

“Things are shaping up to be pretty bad.” said Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research ” J28 is looking super gaunt, and I would say she is within days of her death”

While occasionally whales do recover from this condition, the possible loss of J28 will likely mean the loss of her newest calf J54. At only 7 months old J54 is not ready to survive on his own. It is possible that he will be adopted by another female in the group J28’s mom J17 Princess Angeline or sister J35 Tahlequah.


J28 Polaris approx 12 days ago Copyright Eagle Wing Tours Naturalist Corinne McKay

SRKW Population

What can you DO to help:

Get Involved – volunteer for a shoreline cleanup in your area – tell organization why support or why you do not – write to your local government representative (send letters and emails)

Sign petitions:

Eat Sustainable

Become a Member of the Center for Whale Research – follow them on Facebook & Twitter

Adopt a Whale – check out The Whale Museum for more information

Follow Dam Sense on Facebook and check out their website

Tweet to help Take down the dams

Read the following articles to learn more:

Watch Free the Snake: Restoring America’s Greatest Salmon River – Jim Waddell lays out the reasons why the four lower Snake River dams must be breached

The Dam Guardians – Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, who is well known for their attempts to stop whaling ships in the southern ocean whale sanctuary, now wants to stop Oregon’s killing of sea lions that eat endangered salmon in the Columbia River. The Dam Guardians of Sea Shepherd, in Astoria on Sunday, photographed and video-taped Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife technicians as they captured and branded  38 sea lions at the East Mooring Basin.

The fact is the sea lions take less than 4% of the salmon runs. Whereas, habitat loss, hydroelectric dams, hatchery fish and harvest are responsible for the bulk of wild salmon declines. The sea lions will be branded with hot irons, hazed with rubber bullets and explosives, and killed by lethal injection or shotgun for eating less than 4% of the salmon at the dam. All of this mayhem, conducted on the dime of taxpayers, takes place while commercial, sport, and tribal fisheries are allowed to take up to 17% of the same endangered salmon and the dam itself claims approximately 17% of adult salmon.

About 1,400 sea lions have been branded at Astoria since 1997 as part of a general population study. Numbers branded on the animals are used to identify sea lions  that go upriver to feed on endangered salmon at Bonneville Dam, where  the fish are vulnerable while waiting to go over the fish ladder.

You can follow the Dam Guardians on twitter: @DamGuardians and on Facebook Sea Shepherd USA

Also check out:

“Palm Sunday for some is supposed to be a peaceful holiday. We woke to the sounds of sea lion screams coming from Pier 36. We scrambled to get dressed, get our equipment, and get down to the docks. We were astounded by the sight of 30 + beautiful sea lions, in sheer terror, climbing upon eachother and crying out in fear. Trying to escape their human captors. Sea Lions literally filled the trap, and… the weight was causing the cage to sink. The sea lions sitting on the docks were also upset. Little ones were swimming up to see their friends in the trap. Matt from O.D.F.W. would bang on the bottom of the trap with a stick and the only way out of the trap was to go into the squeeze cage. Where they would be held tightly against their will, their movements restricted while seering hot irons were pressed into their flesh. The sea lions don’t understand this type of behavior and the way that these humans were treating them. I don’t think the humans understand how it would feel if this was being done to them. The sea lions do not know things like what would drive a man to put them, in a cage and traumatize their family. They do not understand cold hearts that will press seering hot irons into their flesh because these humans do not want to share the fish with wildlife A woman was screaming “Don’t hurt the babies, Matt, how do you sleep at night?” We talked to tourists who heard the sea lions and this woman screaming. They flocked to the pier, and walked away with the truth about what is happening to our oceans, and to marine wildlife on The Willamette and Columbia River. I noticed they would come with smiles on their faces and left looking disturbed. With horror and tears on their faces.   With tears streaming down our face, we refused not to look away. We documented this horror for over six hours.” Ellie Buchanan Sea Shepherd USA
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Photo credits: Sea Shepherd USA