Protecting Marine Ecology & Orca Whale Habitat in the Pacific Northwest

Please print copy the following suggested letter into your word processing program (modify it if desired), include your written address and signature and send it to Project SeaWolf at the address on the preceeding webpage. Your voice wil be added to our efforts to gain protected status to the southern resident orcas through state and federal legislative mechanisms. Your name will NOT be used for any other purposes.

Dear Legislator:

We/I, the undersigned, strongly request that the population of southern resident orca whales, a stock of killer whales readily identifiable and genetically distinct from other orcas roaming Washington State and British Columbian waters, be immediately reviewed as a candidate species for full protection under federal and/or state Endangered Species status.

The southern resident orcas play a critical and historic role in the natural ecology, tourism economy and cultural anthropology of the Pacific Northwest. This southern resident population has declined over 18% in the past two years, and local researchers have expressed a strong concern that these whales are declining due to a variety of reasons, including the prominence of accumulated PCBs and other toxins in their tissues. It is strongly feared that their weakened immune systems and decreased reproductive rates will, very possibly in the next decade, reduce this stock of orcas below the population threshold required for the long-term survival of this species.

It is paramount that legislators act at this time to implement a comprehensive protection plan to definitively identify and address the cause of this stock's decline. We believe that an "Endangered Species" designation is an important first step in that effort, and we urge the federal/state government to follow in the effort of the British Columbia government to unilaterally protect this important Northwest marine mammal.


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