Skip to content

Protect the Orcas of Southern Washington

January 10, 2013


What does it mean to be “endangered?” For the creatures of the deep—those endangered whales who live in fragile marine ecosystems, it means the difference of life and death. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is considering a petition to remove a group of orcas from the protections of the Endangered Species Act (ESA)—not because they are no longer threatened, but because their existence is inconvenient. Why? Well, it all comes down to water and money.

The incredibly self-aware group of whales (orcas) living off the coast of southern Washington are also known as Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW)—the pod that Lolita was taken from years ago. The distinct population segment, made up of about 84 individual orcas and listed as endangered since 2005, are “resident” fish-eating whales who spend time each year in the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound. Like humans, the southern orcas engage in family behaviors such as babysitting and food-sharing. Marine experts have declared that these orcas truly need all the protection we can provide.

So who is trying to remove these protections? The petition is brought by the corporate-backed Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), allegedly on behalf of farmers who want water from the Sacramento River. This water is off limits because it holds endangered Chinook salmon, who the southern orcas depend upon for their survival. Thus, farmers wouldn’t get access to the water, regardless of this petition. A previous lawsuit to de-list the orcas was dismissed for lack of standing. PLF’s new strategy, with arguments about farmers and semantics about species designation, carries with it a veiled threat of further lawsuits.

Southern resident orca
Southern resident orca (Photo by Miles Ritter)

Don’t be fooled. This petition is about weighing profit against the protection of endangered animals and complex marine ecosystems. At the heart of the petition is an underlying motivation to destroy the Endangered Species Act entirely. The ESA, a crucial, inestimable law for wildlife, gets in the way of business: that is the real issue. It is imperative that we protect orcas, and not allow profit-seeking groups to set in motion the complete destruction of the ESA.

These financial motivations truly violate the intention of the Endangered Species Act. The ESA mandates the protection of endangered species, period—the PLF’s petition is a shameful diversion of government agency resources. The NMFS is obligated to only weigh issues of the best science in this case, not potential profit from desecrating our oceans and rivers. We must not become a nation that removes animal protection laws for the purpose of allowing unmitigated commercial enterprise.

This dangerous petition could have dire consequences for the cherished orcas of southern Washington. The NMFS will consider the petition for 12 months, but they will only consider comments until January 28. Now is the public’s chance to speak out!


Please click HERE to leave comment; only your name and comment is required


Please reject this proposal and stop the removal of the southern orcas from the protections of the Endangered Species Act. This dangerous petition could have dire consequences for the cherished orcas of southern Washington.

we are orcas,
creatures of the sea.
the water is ours,
it belongs to WE.
so please protect
us and
let us be!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

10 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2013 9:14 am

    everyone put on this planet deserves to be here


  2. karenlyonskalmenson permalink
    January 10, 2013 9:31 am

    we are orcas,
    creatures of the sea.
    the water is ours,
    it belongs to WE.
    so please protect
    us and
    let us be!


  3. lindabadham permalink
    January 10, 2013 3:32 pm



  4. January 10, 2013 4:41 pm

    Thanks Stacey comments sent and shared in several places


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Yolanda - "Det här är mitt privata krig"

Kreativ text, annorlundaskap, dikter, bipolaritet, Aspergers syndrom, samhällsdebatt

Once Upon An Activist

Every so often, you will get to tell someone your stories, and it will become a part of their awakening

Barbara Crane Navarro

Rainforest Art Project - Pas de Cartier !


creative design center



M4nic Digression

Bipolar, bisexual and vegan. Blogging for myself. Currently stable...ish. A blog that critics are describing as "all over the place" and "lousy with errors".

Aloe Veritas

Arts and Letters of the Earth

Cosmic Skeptic

Question Everything

Striking at the Roots

Animal activism around the world

The Plantbase Patriot-Midwest

Thoughts on Health, Nutrition and whatever else is on my mind



World Animals Voice

Animal news from around the world.

The Bruges Vegan

more than waffles and chocolate

DirtNKids Blog

Soil, Kids, Vegan -- Connected Through Nature

Amici del Lupo - Svizzera italiana

per sensibilizzare e farlo conoscere...

Animalista Untamed

The only good cage is an empty cage

Jet Eliot

Travel and Wildlife Adventures

Organic Opinion

Finding it, aye there's the rub~

%d bloggers like this: