It appears that the fetus died first and may have caused the death of the mother. Still no firm understanding if the fetus was impacted by environmental issues, or whether it was a natural death.
The efforts are still not working to save the Southern Resident Orcas. Good intentions alone won’t do the job.
A decade after gaining federal protection, the Southern Resident orcas of Puget Sound aren’t making progress. With 78 whales, the population has 20 fewer than when the group was first listed under the Endangered Species Act. A calf born in September offered a glimmer of hope, which was quickly snuffed out when the baby disappeared before the end of the month. Much like the presumed death of calf L120, what exactly is hindering the species’ recovery remains a mystery. A lack of food coupled with an abundance of toxins and boat traffic are thought to be contributors. But what could reverse the orca’s downward trend has yet to be pinpointed. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)
Chris Dunagan at Watching Our Water Ways blogs: “As chum salmon swim back to their home streams in Puget Sound this fall, three killer whale pods — the Southern Residents — can be expected to follow, making their way south along the eastern shoreline of the Kitsap Peninsula. These forays into Central and South Puget Sound could begin any day now and continue until the chum runs decline in November or December. The Southern Residents, which typically hang out in the San Juan Islands in summer, have not been spotted for several days, so they are likely somewhere in the ocean at the moment, according to Howard Garrett of Orca Network. (Kitsap Sun)
Setting up for a showdown with the military over protecting the Orca?
NOAA Fisheries is weighing whether to protect endangered orcas in the waters off the West Coast. The federal agency said Thursday it would consider a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity seeking to expand the critical habitat for southern resident killer whales. NOAA has already designated inland waters of Washington as critical to orca conservation, but the group’s petition says offshore areas from Cape Flattery, Wash., to Point Reyes, Calif., should now be added as critical habitat. Such a designation would require federal officials to limit activities that harm the whales.
(Associated Press) See also: Fate of orcas? Depends on fish—and lately, both have been scarce http://www.sanjuanjournal.com/news/256441941.html (San Juan Journal)
Mike Sato hits it right on the head. It’s time for Govenor Inslee to show us what this bureaucracy is doing, and if he’s really behind it or not. Getting it a leader that can actually lead would be a great start. No one would likely cry for it if they kill it and reconstitute it anew. It’s become a behind the scenes player in Olympia and virtually unknown outside of the Capital. A real shame, frankly. We had high hopes for it, but environmentalism appears to be joke and a pawn in the power politics in Olympia. Use it to garner votes, then ignore it for 2 to 4 years. Maybe when we are down to one Orca they’ll actually get serious.
Chris Dunagan was able to catch up with 8 Orcas near Bremerton yesterday.
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Thanks to Jules for sharing this with us. An amazing film of orcas hunting dolphins at Hyacinthe Bay BC (north of Nanaimo). And thanks to Grind TV for getting it up online!