FRISCO — Federal biologists will study whether more critical habitat could benefit an endangered group of killer whales that roams the ocean off the Pacific Northwest, from Puget Sound down to northern California.
Activists push to free Lolita, a killer whale that has been at the Miami Seaquarium since the 1970s
FRISCO — A grassroots push to return a captured killer whale from the Miami Seaquarium to its home in the Pacific Ocean got a boost from federal biologists and attorneys this week, who decided to include Lolita in the endangered species listing for Southern Resident Killer Whales that spend much of the year in the inland waters of Washington and British Columbia.
In a Feb. 4 announcement, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that, while Lolita will now share the endangered listing status of the population she came from, the decision does not impact her residence at the Miami Seaquarium, which doesn’t currently have plans to return the marine mammal to the ocean. Continue reading “Feds include captive orca under endangered species listing”→
The southern resident population of the marine mammals, based in Puget Sound, range along the Pacific Coast. A critical habitat expansion would protect winter foraging range off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, which spurred the review with a formal petition.
“Despite nearly a decade of federal protection, the Puget Sound’s orca population remains perilously small, hovering around only 80 animals,” said Sarah Uhlemann, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This proposal is an important step toward recovery and will help the whales stave off extinction.” Continue reading “Oceans: More love for West Coast orcas?”→
The fringe property rights advocacy group claimed, based in invalid science, that the Puget Sound “southern resident” killer whales are not a distinct population. In response, the federal government conducted a year-long review of the status and eligibility of the orcas for Endangered Species Act protection and confirmed that the whale’s endangered listing remains warranted. Continue reading “Puget Sound orcas keep ESA protection”→
Right-wing property rights group files nuisance petition
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — An anti-environmental property rights groups has successfully petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to reconsider its Endangered Species Act listing for Puget Sound’s resident orcas, more formally known as southern resident killer whales.
Puget Sound orcas have had endangered status since 2005, when federal biologists listed them due to threats from pollution, habitat destruction and over-collection by the marine aquarium industry. Puget Sound orcas are one of a few populations to feed extensively on salmon; they have a unique dialect; and previous studies have shown they are genetically unique. Continue reading “Oceans: Feds to consider de-listing Puget Sound orcas”→
New study suggests shipping traffic a smaller factor
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —Recovering Chinook salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest is probably the key to killer whale conservation efforts, according to new research based on measurements of hormone levels in the marine mammals.
The southern resident killer whales, living in coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest, have been struggling and some researchers think it’s primarily because of increase ship traffic in the region.