The orca population has hit an all-time low, with only a few of them remaining in the wild – and this has been a great cause of worry for authorities in Washington. It has been almost three years since an orca calf born in the region has survived. Two young orca deaths were reported this summer alone.
Therefore, Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s office has announced plans to spend more than $1 billion to stave off orca extinction. If enacted, the proposal would knock down two dams, repair habitat and place a three-year ban on orca watching. Crucially, Inslee hopes to shore up salmon runs that feed the orca while cleaning and quieting the waters in which they live.
It should be noted that a shortage of Chinook salmon, pollution, and marine noise caused by boats – which blinds their echolocation – has led to diminishing numbers of orcas. Worries of imminent extinction prompted demands for action from state leaders.