Nutrition website

State Launches Orca Website | The San Juan Islands Journal

Submitted by the Washington State Bureau of Recreation and Conservation.

The Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office has launched a new website (https://www.orca.wa.gov/) today to track recovery efforts for endangered Southern Resident orcas.

“The website is beautiful and full of information,” said Tara Galuska, Governor’s Killer Whale Recovery Coordinator. “The website is an easy way for people to see what is being done to save orcas and to learn more about our unique population of orcas here in Washington.”

The website contains information on the status of implementation of each of the

49 recommendations from the Governor’s Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force, plus general information about orcas, ideas on how people can help save orcas, and resources, including school curriculum.

Governor Jay Inslee convened a task force in 2018 to make recommendations on steps state agencies could take to recover orcas. The task force worked for 2 years and concluded with two reports containing 49 recommendations centered on increasing the orca’s food supply, decreasing disturbance from boats, reducing pollution and tackling the impacts of climate change and human population growth.

“It is important that we save the southern resident orcas. They are an iconic and treasured species in Washington and throughout the Pacific Northwest. They have significant cultural value to native tribes and all Washingtonians,” Governor Jay Inslee said. “If they disappeared, we would suffer an unacceptable loss to our environment, our economy and our culture. These animals have been sacred to countless generations of people residing here. I don’t want to imagine a state without our beloved orcas.

Southern resident killer whales are unique in that they primarily eat chinook salmon, while other killer whales have a more diverse diet. They also differ in size, fin shape and markings. In 1995, the southern resident population was 99 and today has 74 whales, the lowest number in over 30 years. The working group has set a goal of increasing the number of whales by 10 in 10 years.

“We hope this website provides valuable information and inspires everyone to join our efforts to save these beloved whales,” Galuska said. “There is a lot of work to be done and it will take all of us to pull together to save them.”

One thing people can do is participate in an Orca Action Month activity in June.

“We are so excited to celebrate Orca Action Month (https://www.orcamonth.com/) with the launch of this new website. We hope this is one more way for people to find out how they can help southern residents,” Galuska said. “Please visit the website for more information on events and activities you can do to learn more about orcas and participate in Orca Action Month.”