BC's Killer Whales

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.

Find out more about Toxins and the Northwest Orcas


Google Map of Killer Whale Southern Resident Population
This map describes the occurrence, including range within Canada (in blue) and critical habitat within Canada and US (in red), of the northeast Pacific southern resident population.

View Killer Whale Southern Resident Population in a larger map


Google Map of Killer Whale Northern Resident Population
This map describes the occurrence, including range in Canada (in blue), critical habitat in Canada (in red),  and potential critical habitat in Canada (in orange), of the northeast Pacific northern resident population in Canadian waters.

View Killer Whale Northern Resident Population in a larger map

Recent Developments

31 weeks 4 days ago
For Immediate Release - September 11, 2017
42 weeks 5 days ago
This is a TV news story about the passing of Gwen Barlee, the Wilderness Committee's much loved spokesperson on endangered species.

Take Action

Let's put an end to Kinder Morgan's tar sands pipeline

Call your MP

Despite overwhelming opposition on the West Coast and across this country, the federal government just broke its promises and approved Kinder Morgan’s risky and reckless tar sands pipeline.

This project is a disaster on every level. Endangered orcas, coastal economies, the global climate, Indigenous rights, public health and safety — all at risk from this pipeline. It cannot be allowed to proceed.

Justin Trudeau made a promise to restart the review for the pipeline in the last election campaign. Now he’s turned his back on that. Meanwhile, he’s promised to fight climate change and uphold Indigenous rights. If his government approves Kinder Morgan, he will have thrown those goals to the wind.

We need you to call your Member of Parliament. Tell them they have made a reprehensible choice and this fight is far from over.

Call now >>

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