MAYDAY: Despite recent baby boom, Southern Resident orca population still face uncertain future
Whale and Dolphin Conservation is currently working to expand critical habitat for Southern Resident Orcas. We are asking the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to revise the current extent of designated critical habitat for the Southern Residents in the US to include their coastal wintering and foraging range NOW, instead of delaying until 2017 or later.
WDC supported a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity in 2014 to revise critical habitat to include the Southern Residents’ coastal range, and include sound as an essential feature of protected habitat. NMFS found the petition to be warranted and acknowledged the need to protect this vital winter foraging range, but delayed beginning the revision process until 2017. NMFS has enough information to expand critical habitat, and delaying a revision takes time the Southern Residents simply don’t have. Their recovery needs to be a high priority, and while NMFS has recognized the urgency of the situation, they are still delaying action. Protecting the habitat of these endangered whales will help to address the multiple threats facing this population, and should not be postponed when enough information is available to take action now.
Every week from now through March, we will be posting information about the many threats preventing recovery of this unique population, and all the reasons why the current extent of critical habitat has not been enough to be an effective tool for conservation.
Don’t miss any of these weekly installments! Click to have Mayday Monday sent directly to your inbox and please sign our letter to NMFS urging them to make the Pacific Northwest coast a safer home for the Southern Residents NOW.