L41 (Mega) Near La Push, WA

Photo by C. Emmons, NOAA Fisheries Permit 16163

In January we learned that another southern resident orca was missing and presumed dead. This time it was L41, Mega, a 43-year-old male. The southern resident orca population is now reduced to just 72 individuals – nearing their historical low of 71.

  • If this trend continues, the southern resident orcas could go extinct in less than 100 years.

We are not helpless to stop this slide, unless we choose to be. One of the most powerful and effective things we can do to protect the southern residents is to give them more acoustic space, and make it easier for them to forage, rest and socialize.

  • In a quiet sea, it’s estimated that orcas can echolocate on a salmon 650 yards away.
  • Noise and disturbance effectively shrinks their acoustic world and makes it harder for them to find food.
  • Noise and disturbance changes their behaviors, costs them energy, and masks their communication calls.

Join with us to support a moratorium of whale-watching on the southern residents by all vessels, as was near-unanimously recommended by Governor Inslee and the SRKW Task Force. That means, staying 650 yards away from J, K or L pods, unless and until the population recovers. Let’s give the whales the best chance to find what food is there.

It’s just one tool in our toolkit to save the orcas. But it’s one of the few things we can do that will have an immediate and beneficial impact in these next few critical years.

  • Commit to watching southern residents from shore, and encourage your friends and family to do the same.
  • Honor L41 by better protecting his kin.

Please get in touch if you want to learn more or help. donna@thewhaletrail.org, 206-919-5397