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On Friday, endangered killer whales received new habitat protections from the federal government. As ABC News reported,
The National Marine Fisheries Service finalized rules to expand the Southern Resident orca’s critical habitat from the Canadian border down to Point Sur, California, adding 15,910 square miles (41,207 square kilometers) of foraging areas, river mouths and migratory pathways.
“These critically endangered orcas are finally getting the federal habitat protections they desperately need,” Julie Teel Simmonds, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, told the Associated Press.
“Resident” killer whales are fish eaters found along the coasts on both sides of the North Pacific. Southern Residents are the smallest of the ‘resident’ populations, are found mostly off British Columbia, Washington and Oregon, but also travel to forage widely along the outer coast. Their preferred food is Chinook salmon, thus conservation groups are also urging the increased protection of salmon in order to protect the orcas’ food source.
Is There More To Be Done?
While environmentalists have applauded these recent protections, they’ve suggested that more can be done to help the orca population recover — namely, instating habitat protections for salmon.
Chinook salmon, their main food source, has become increasingly scarce, particularly as the drought has depleted their numbers. Salmon overfishing, pollution, vessel disturbance, have threatened the orcas’ main source of food. Orcas appear to be malnourished, showing signs of “peanut head” — a condition in which a whale has lost so much body fat that a depression appears behind its blowhole.
“While this action helps ensure the orcas’ ocean home will be protected, more action is urgently needed to restore wild salmon populations the orcas depend on,” Ben Enticknap, a senior scientist with Oceana, said in a statement.
Do you have a good eye? Are you surprisingly good at Where’s Waldo and like Walruses? If so, we have great opportunity for you! The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is seeking volunteers to help count Atlantic walruses…from space. Sea ice is retreating fast as global temperatures rise, forcing walruses to crowd on smaller floes […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer At a UN conference in Kunming, China, President Xi Jinping set aside $230 million to form a fund that preserves biodiversity in developing countries. This announcement was made at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity talks (COP15) which are dedicated to preserving delicate ecosystems and preventing plants and animals […]
The people have spoken! The portly patriarch of paunch persevered to pulverize the Baron of Beardonkadonk in the final match of #FatBearWeek 2021. 480 Otis can now boast a bevy of bests w/ this fourth 1st place finish. As we celebrate, like a true champ 480 is still chowing down. pic.twitter.com/rLvm7pvGJW — Katmai National Park […]
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