Letters to the Editor

Save southern resident orcas while we can

I just finished reading “Into Great Silence” by Eva Saulitis about a pod of 22 transient orcas that frequented Prince William Sound. The pod will become extinct in our lifetime because of the Exxon Valdez disaster.

We are the stewards of three resident pods of orcas and if we don’t do something now we will guarantee their extinction. The southern resident killer whales have enjoyed a lot of press recently with the births of five baby orcas. Don’t let the baby boom fool you – these pods are on the brink of disaster. The number of females of reproductive age in each pod is dangerously low.

Of the five babies born this year only one is confirmed female. The runs of chinook salmon, their main food, are close to extinction. Oil companies are fighting to increase tanker traffic in The Salish Sea; one spill could virtually wipe out all three pods.

So what do we do? First, support The Center for Whale Research; they need members and financial support to continue their vital work.

Second, tell your government it’s time to demolish the dams on the Snake River to give salmon a fighting chance to recover, and let them know you are against oil tanker traffic in The Salish Sea. We must seize our chance to save the southern residents while we still can. If we don’t we will have no one to blame but ourselves when the last southern resident takes its last breath into great silence.