Endangered Orcas: The Story of the Southern Residents

Endangered Orcas: The Story of the Southern Residents

by Monika Wieland Shields


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The Southern Resident killer whales are icons of the Pacific Northwest, a beloved population of orcas that are considered the most-watched whales in the world. Despite decades of research and focused conservation efforts, they are on the brink of extinction.

Each year J-, K-, and L-Pods return to the inland waters of Washington State and British Columbia, a region known as the Salish Sea, where scientists and whale watchers alike know them as individuals. J2 Granny lost relatives to captivity but went on to lead her family for decades. The controversial satellite tagging of K25 Scoter reshaped orca conservation efforts. L112 Sooke was only three years old when she washed up dead from blunt force trauma to the head on the outer coast, a death shrouded in mystery.

From the capture era and the beginning of killer whale research to the whale-watching boom and endangered listing, the whole story of the Southern Residents is told here. Our relationship to these whales, complicated by both the positive attachments and negative politics we have created around them, has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. With more challenges on the horizon, one question looms: can we still create a sustainable future for humans and orcas in the Salish Sea?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781733693400
Publisher: Orca Watcher
Publication date: 03/19/2019
Pages: 402
Sales rank: 339,553
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents


Introduction: The Orca Watcher

Part 1. Understanding Killer Whales

Chapter 1. A Complex Species: Different Kinds of Killer Whales

Chapter 2. Living in a Close-Knit Community

Chapter 3. A World of Sound

Chapter 4. Personality, Emotions, and Culture

Part 2. Our Changing Relationship with the Southern Residents

Chapter 5. The Salish Sea: Where Orcas and Humans Come Together

Chapter 6. The Capture Era

Chapter 7. Whale Organizations: People, Passion, and Politics

Chapter 8. The Most Watched Whales in the World

Part 3. Orcas in Trouble

Chapter 9. The Three Risk Factors

Chapter 10. Filling in the Data Gaps

Chapter 11. Asking the Tough Questions

Chapter 12. Saving an Endangered Population

Epilogue: A Future for Killer Whales in the Northwest


Appendix 1. Southern Resident Killer Whales, 1976–2018

Appendix 2. Stranded Southern Resident Killer Whales

Selected Bibliography and Further Reading


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