Should the Harbor Porpoise Be the New Orca? – Sightline

More on another indicator species we’ve not even really studied yet. The Harbor Porpoise

The 85 or so southern resident Orcas are doubtless the Sound’s most famous inhabitants… Yet of the Sound’s most populous whale or dolphin, we know only a little. As it turns out, local scientists are beginning to think that the Orca’s plebeian cousin, the harbor porpoise, may reveal much about the state of the Sound—and yet we scarcely bother to count or track them. Numbering more than 10,000 when last we checked a decade ago, harbor porpoises are genuine residents of the Sound. Unlike the jet-setting “resident” Orcas who in truth spend much of their time far from the Sound, a distinct population of harbor porpoises lives out their lives in the Salish Sea—eating, breeding, and raising their young solely in its waters.

Eric de Place blogs.

Porpoise deaths off Whidbey raise alarms about health of Puget Sound

Three dead porpoises have washed ashore on Whidbey Island in a matter of days, and now some experts are wondering if the animals were ill – or the cause of their deaths is something worse. One of the porpoises was found a few yards away from the iconic Admiralty Lighthouse on Whidbey Island, and Susan Berta is hoping to find answers that will shed light on the mystery.

The dead harbor porpoise found near the lighthouse is the third one she has investigated this week. Just as concerning is what happened north of here, along the San Juan Islands. In early May, over a seven-day stretch, eight porpoises were found dead along the shoreline.

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