Seven So. Community orcas presumed dead (fwd)

From: pita admininstrator (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Date: Sun Jun 17 2001 - 20:39:44 EDT


To: MARMAM@UVVM.UVIC.CA
Subject: Seven So. Community orcas presumed dead

------

Below is a news release from the Center for Whale Research, with the=20
details of the whales confirmed missing in K-pod and L-pod this season.=20
Especially sad is the loss of two young calves (three, counting the=20
previously reported missing K pod calf), and the loss of three adult male=
s.

You can also find this press releas on the Orca Coservancy website at:=20
www.orcaconservancy.org/news/cwrjun16.asp
The Center for Whale Research website is at: http://www.whaleresearch.com=
/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Center for Whale Research June 16, 2001
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Astrid van Ginneken, Co-Principal Investigator, Center for Whale Research=
=20
360-378-5835
Kelley Balcomb-Bartok, media liaison =96 e-mail: orcatrust@rockisland.com=
=20
360-378-3557

The Center for Whale Research reports seven killer whales missing from=20
Southern Community Orca population as whales return to the San Juan Islan=
ds=20
for the summer.

After several weeks of careful observation of the southern resident kille=
r=20
whale pods in and around the San Juan Islands, the Center for Whale=20
Research has confirmed seven whales are missing from the population.

For the twenty-sixth year, the Center for Whale Research is documenting t=
he=20
pods of killer whales that frequent the inland waters of Washington State=
=20
and southern British Columbia. Maintaining both a photographic catalog of=
=20
every individual as well as social structure of the entire population,=20
staff at the Center noticed the missing animals as the pods returned to t=
he=20
San Juan Islands last month.

L-pod, the largest of the three resident pods, first arrived in the San=20
Juan Islands May 20 whereupon staff members with the Center began a=20
detailed inventory of the returning animals. Upon closer inspection,=20
several individuals were notably absent, and after several encounters in=20
the following weeks six whales have now been regarded as missing. K-pod=20
also returned to the region May 20th, and while one new calf (K-33) has=20
been observed, a calf born in November did not survive the winter, bringi=
ng=20
the total number of animals missing to seven.

The missing animals include:
L-1 (adult male / born ~1959 / one surviving sister L-54)
L-11 (adult female / born 1957 / mother of five offspring - 3 surviving)
L-39 (adult male / born 1975 / mother L-2 and 3 younger siblings survive)
L-62 (adult male / born 1980 / mother L-27 survives, 3 younger siblings=20
deceased)
L-98* (calf born 1999 / mother L-67 survives)
L-99* (calf born 2000 / mother L-47 and 2 older siblings survive)
K-32 (calf born 2000 / mother K-16 survives)
*(At present, with the loss of L-98 and L-99, no calves in L-pod born sin=
ce=20
L-95, in 1996, have survived)

New calves born this year include:
J-37 (calf born to J-14, her third)
K-33 (calf born to K-22, her first)

With the absence of seven individuals and the addition of two calves, the=
=20
total population numbers for the southern community is 78, with L-pod now=
=20
at 41, K-pod at 17, and J-pod at 20. When research began on these pods in=
=20
1976, there were 71 whales total; the population peaked at 99 whales in=20
1995 while there has been a precipitous decline since that time.

The numbers for all years of the study are as follows:
1976 =96 71 whales
1977 =96 79 whales
1978 =96 79 whales
1979 =96 81 whales
1980 =96 83 whales
1981 =96 81 whales
1982 =96 78 whales
1983 =96 76 whales
1984 =96 74 whales
1985 =96 77 whales
1986 =96 81 whales
1987 =96 84 whales
1988 =96 85 whales
1989 =96 85 whales
1990 =96 89 whales
1991 =96 92 whales
1993 =96 97 whales
1994 =96 96 whales
1995 =96 99 whales
1996 =96 97 whales
1997 =96 92 whales
1998 =96 89 whales
1999 =96 85 whales
2000 =96 82 whales
presently in 2001 - 78 whales.

Factors that may play a role in the population decline include:
=B7 The southern community killer whale pods were captured on 13=20
separate occasions in the Puget Sound area between 1965 and 1976 with 36=20
reported whales taken for aquariums throughout the world.
=B7 In recent years many salmon stocks have been dramatically reduc=
ed=20
to dangerously low levels, with several species recently listed as=20
endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
=B7 High levels of Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxins (PBTs) includi=
ng=20
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) have been found in samples taken from=20
recovered bodies of several members of the J and L-pods.
=B7 In the past ten years there has been a dramatic increase in the=
=20
number of whale watching vessels following the whales, which may add stre=
ss=20
on already weakened individuals in times of duress.
The data collected by the Center for Whale Research is to be cited=20
specifically to the Center and no other organization, and any/all uses=20
should clearly state the information came from the Center for Whale Resea=
rch.

Howard Garrett
Orca Conservancy
2403 So. North Bluff Rd.
Greenbank WA 98253
(360) 678-3451
tokitae@pugetsound.net
www.rockisland.com/~tokitae
www.orcaconservancy.org



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