The Southern Resident orcas NEED the whale watch boats – here’s why (video)

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Wild orca riding in the wake behind the whale watch boat. (

As I watched the live stream of yesterday’s Southern Resident Orca Task Force meeting I was struck by the cool-headed logic and data presented by the Pacific Whale Watch Association captain, Jeff Friedman. He detailed how many southern resident orcas have been present in the Salish Sea this season, which pods, where, and when.
Had it been needed he also would have been able to provide information on the body condition of each whale, background on which females may be pregnant, and how the older calves are doing. Government agencies and small NGOs just don’t have the resources to locate the orcas or to provide daily surveillance.
Star (J46) with her mother Polaris (J28) (deceased) and brother Dipper (J54) (also deceased). Read Star’s story.   (Photo credit: Center for Whale Research)

Earlier this year I heard from so many about the anguish, pain and tears that clouded their vision but never their judgement as they gave a grieving mother space while she carried her dead baby for over two weeks. Hers was a silent rebuke to what we’ve allowed to happen but those who were out there on the water watching from a respectful distance brought her message to the public…the whales need more fish.
And one last thing – the whale watch boats are part of the orca’s lives. Of course it’s impossible to know what they think about the humans who are so enchanted by them, but they know we’re watching.
Check out the video below to see just how aware they are!

Southern Resident Orca Task Force meeting (today, 18 October 2018). Archived versions are not yet available. UPDATE 10/19/18 the archived versions are now available. Click on this link and enter ‘killer whale’ into the search bar.
Center for Whale Research
Pacific Whale Watch Association

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