BC is renowned for its tremendous ecological wealth and variety of wildlife. From Vancouver Island marmots, spotted owls, western bluebirds and grizzly bears we have the greatest biodiversity in all of Canada.
Among the most iconic species in BC are the southern resident orcas or killer whales. Found in the international waters between British Columbia and Washington State these 81 whales are under threat from toxins, acoustic disturbances and diminished food supply. The southern residents whales are so polluted with toxic chemicals that they are currently two to four times more contaminated than the highly toxic beluga whales of the St. Lawrence Seaway in central Canada.
To recover the southern resident population we need action that will protect their habitat, maintain their food supply and ensure they are safe from acoustic disturbances and free from toxic contamination.
The best way to do that is to ensure that Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) (marine mammals fall under federal jurisdiction in Canada) is properly applied. Unfortunately, our federal government is refusing to use the Act to protect Canada's 700 species at risk – including BC’s orcas. This refusal has resulted in environmental groups taking the federal government to court to ensure Canada’s endangered species legislation is properly applied to protect and recover species at risk from coast to coast to coast.
Over the past several years we have won several important legal victories and are inching closer to proper protection for the southern residents – but more work still needs to be done.
View Killer Whale Southern Resident Population in a larger map
View Killer Whale Northern Resident Population in a larger map