Endangered Species Highlight: Southern Resident Killer Whale
The southern resident killer Whale, of the species Orcinus Orca, live in the Pacific Ocean off of Canada, Washington, Oregon, and California. As of recently, there are 76 individuals in the wild, separated into three pods, J, K, and L. Their population is based off of a matrilineal system with each pod sharing a maternal ancestor. Southern residents rely heavily on chinook salmon for food (about 78% of their diet). Their main threat is depletion in prey availability. Other threats include chemical contamination as well as vessel traffic and sound. In order to protect these beautiful, complex animals, is important to support continuing research on the southern resident population as well as support salmon restoration efforts.
Fun facts: •Orca dialect consists of clicks, whistles, and calls and are taught through generations, changing significantly within each community. •Orcas are actually dolphins. They were once called "whale killers" by sailors who witnessed them killing large cetaceans and over time the name became "killer whales". Photos by @cameron_winkler taken in the San Juan Islands, WA
Note: Orcas in the photographs may be of the transient community. Know how to identify killer whales? Comment below!