Credit: Kersti Muul
How to honor and protect our orca neighbors
There are few things more impactful than looking into the eye of your neighbor when that neighbor is ... a whale.
The Puget Sound region, and the greater Salish Sea extending into Canada, is home to abundant sea life, including whales. Orca (or killer) whales are actually dolphins, taxonomically speaking, and are especially charismatic marine creatures, given their iconic graphic black and white appearance. As someone who’s seen these magnificent whales from both land and boat, I can tell you that nothing compares to witnessing the power and confidence of an orca pod cutting through the water like they own it.
Yet our orca neighbors are vulnerable to the pressures of human activity and are in fact declining in numbers. They need our help. In this pandemic era, people are recognizing the value of our immediate natural surroundings, while at the same time putting more pressure on it, and this is adversely affecting the local population of orcas.
Two things have put our local orca whales in the news recently: the birth of two calves in September in the beleaguered J Pod, and the increase in boat ownership throughout Puget Sound as a form of socially distanced leisure. The latter brings more people in boat-based contact with the whales than ever before, for both good and ill.
What can families do to honor and protect our orca neighbors, and also enjoy their magnificent presence in Puget Sound?
Click through for resources on how your family can support our dynamic dolphin neighbors.