How You Can Help
How You Can Help The Southern Resident Orca Whales
Every one of us can make a difference. Pollution and lack of suitable food are the major factors that are threatening the Southern Resident Orca Whales. Cleaning up the environment in which they live will not only promote their survival, but will benefit the entire ecosystem.
The orca whale is at the top of the food chain. Hence much of the food they ingest carries contamination from water pollution. The major toxins the whales have to contend with are PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls) and PBDE’s(polybrominated diphenyl ethers) which are flame retardants. PBDE’s have been used in a wide array of products, including building materials, electronics, furnishings, motor vehicles, airplanes, plastics, polyurethane foams, and textiles. All the contaminants that the whales accumulate are stored in their fatty tissue or blubber. As the salmon stocks decline the whales are forced to draw energy from their blubber layers to survive. This is when the stored toxins enter the bloodstream and mimic and displace their natural hormones. This makes them very susceptible to infection, diseases and plays havoc with their reproductive and neurological systems.
The primary diet of the Southern Resident Orca Whale consists of Chinook salmon. The availability of this prey species has a direct effect on their survival. On the U.S. West Coast many salmon runs have completely collapsed, and in B.C. the situation is no better. The Pacific salmon runs are at risk of extinction in the Pacific Northwest if we do not take action now. The recent decline of salmon in the orcas’ territory can be helped; it starts with each one of us!
Some Of The Ways You Can Help:
- Work to reduce pollution and waste.
- Reduce the use of toxic chemicals in your home. Make your home ToxicSmart and your garden Pesticide Free, to help reduce toxins in the marine food chain. www.GeorgiaStrait.org
- To help protect salmon and other fish species that are declining in our oceans eat sustainable seafood. To eat conscious seafood check out the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Guide.
- Reduce water consumption. SavingWater.org & LivingWaterSmart.ca
- Become a member of a local Streamkeepers organization and help to increase efforts to rehabilitate old salmon habitat.
- Go out on a tour with one of the PWWA companies and learn about the whales and their habitat.
- Help the Center for Whale Research and Cascadia Research.
- Adopt a whale from the Whale Museum or the BC Killer Whale Adoption Program.
- Contact your government regarding the use of PBDE’s; which are fire retardants they are harming the whales as well as us. Government of Canada & ToxicFreeLegacy.org
- Try to buy organic and local as much as possible.
- Check out www.Earth911.com
- Be Whale Wise and watch whales responsibly with one of the PWWA companies.