Written by Zoe van Duivenbode, TNC Intern
Photo by Walt Kochan; Joel Rogers
June is officially Orca Month! These marine mammals are so magnificent they deserve a whole month filled with orca appreciation and fun educational events! Recently, orcas have been coined as the first non-human species whose evolution has been influenced by each group’s unique cultural differences, such as hunting methods and vocalization. While certain groups of orcas snack on sting-rays and squid, other groups, like the local Southern Resident Killer Whales exclusively feed on chinook salmon and other fish!
For the entire month of June, dedicated orca lovers and various organizations unite to help spread the word about the rapidly declining population of the Southern Resident Killer Whales. Between the years of 1995 to 2001, the Southern Resident Killer Whale population decreased by 20% and as of December 2015, our resident pods reached a total of 84. One of the most detrimental threats to our underwater neighbors involves the reduction of chinook salmon populations and their habitat. The Orca-Salmon Alliance, The Center for Whale Research, and the Orca Network are just a few organizations that are hosting educational events highlighting the important relationship between the Southern Resident Killer Whales, salmon and a healthy Puget Sound ecosystem over drinks, picnics, storytelling and music. Visit The Orca Month page to find all the fun events happening near you!
The Nature Conservancy is hard at work protecting both habitat and food supply for the Southern Resident Killer Whales. TNC’s efforts to decrease the amount of toxic stormwater runoff that drains into the Puget Sound will help create a cleaner home for all marine life, including orcas! Check out how TNC’s plans to solve stormwater issues in our cities to help increase our region’s salmon population, which in turn, increases our Southern Resident Killer Whale population!