Are local whales recovering? The Whale Trail’s next Orca Talk

February 16, 2013 at 6:30 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 11 Comments


(October 2012 photo by Nick Adams for WSB; click image for larger view)
Last month, the first talk in a new series presented by The Whale Trail drew a full house to C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor). The next talk is just five days away – Thursday (February 21) – and tickets are still available, reports TWT’s Donna Sandstrom with this reminder:

It has been almost 8 years since the Southern Resident Killer Whales (J, K and L pods) were listed as endangered. How are they doing? What progress has been made towards their recovery? What can we do to help?

Join us for this informal and informative talk featuring Lynne Barre, NOAA Fisheries. Learn what NOAA and its partners are doing to conserve and protect these iconic and beloved whales, including current research findings, management approaches and population updates.

Lynne is the Branch Chief in the Protected Resources Division at NOAA. She worked on the endangered listing of the Southern Residents, designated critical habitat, and developed and finalized the SRKW Recovery Plan.

As part of the recovery program, Lynne developed an oil-spill-response plan and protective regulations for killer whales in Washington. She works closely with partner organizations, including The Whale Trail, to implement the recovery plan. Lynne also works on the newly listed rockfish species and coordinates with Puget Sound salmon recovery.

We’ll also hear updates from Robin Lindsay (Seal Sitters) and Laura James (tox-ick.org).

This is the second in an “Orca Talk” series, hosted by The Whale Trail at C&P, 5621 California SW. Cost: $5 suggested donation, kids free. Advance tickets available at brownpapertickets.com/event/337516. Buy tickets now – see you there!

Questions – or, interested in volunteering? Here’s how to reach Donna: donna@thewhaletrail.org or 206.919.5397.

11 Comments

  1. I couldn’t find the date of the event.

    Comment by Jan Van Pelt — 9:12 pm February 16, 2013 #

  2. Sorry, “five days away” was a little obscure indeed, and we don’t mean to require people to follow the in-story links for something that basic – so I’ve added the specifics: Thursday (February 21). Thanks – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:20 pm February 16, 2013 #

  3. Do any other West Seattle old timers remember when there were so many pods of whales going down the Sound in front of Vashon Island that “Small Craft Warnings” were issued?! We would take a dingy out hoping we wouldn’t get tossed in the water. I’m 63 and remember hours spent watching the Sound filled with Orcas. This was before “Namu” was caught and displayed between piers on the downtown waterfront. How long did Namu suffer before he died? Also this was the time before that evil guy started catching Orcas to sell to the upcoming Sea World type of venues. Remember the controversy? Remember the news films catching the cries of the whales as one of the pod was cut out?

    Comment by WSWhaletales — 9:23 pm February 16, 2013 #

  4. WSWT – before my time but there is some background online. Namu:
    .
    http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=2718
    .
    Orca captures in general:
    .
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captive_killer_whales

    Comment by WSB — 10:01 pm February 16, 2013 #

  5. Thanks, WSB, for helping us get the word out!

    WSWT – would love to hear your stories of orcas here before the captures.

    The capture era started in 1965 when a male orca called Namu was held and displayed at the end of Pier 55. The captures lasted until 1976, when Washington State sued NOAA to stop them. By the time they were through more than 1/3 of the total population had been removed including most of the calves and breeding mothers. The captures had a devastating impact on J, K and L pods and is one of the reasons they are endangered today.

    The good news is, we’ve learned a whole lot about orcas since then. We can’t undo the damage that was done then, but we can work together now to ensure they recover, and the Sound is filled with orcas again.

    Comment by Donna, The Whale Trail — 12:44 pm February 17, 2013 #

  6. Thank you WSB and Donna for the links and the information as to the orca captures. The link on the captures refreshed my recollection of the capture of that pod and the horror I felt upon learning of the death of the mother whale trying to save her calf. I wonder if King 5 still has the film of that capture. At the time this happened, I don’t think the public could fully grasp that something so horrid would be sanctioned. I’ll check for the footage. The note from the daughter of the man who placed Namu at the pier was touching as to his deep regret. After the pod capture, I thought the practice was outlawed so Donna’s information that the practice went on to remove more than 1/3 of the orca population sickens me. Apparently it just took ONE DECADE to go from “small craft warnings” due to huge pods of orcas in the Sound to sighting of orcas being rare. Donna, thank you for your work toward the day my children or grandchildren might hear again of small craft warnings issued due to the orcas swinnimg in great numbers after the salmon.

    Comment by WSWhaletales — 6:51 pm February 17, 2013 #

  7. Amen to that, WSWhaleTales!

    Comment by westseattledood — 7:12 pm February 17, 2013 #

  8. WSWhaleTales, I share your vision! I’ve also heard that the orcas were here year-round, not just during the winter. Which means there must have been lots of salmon year-round, too. We have our work cut out for us. Hope to see you on Thursday!

    Comment by Donna, The Whale Trail — 10:48 am February 18, 2013 #

  9. OMG the horror…Here is some of the footage:
    WSB can you bump this so more people will see this horror. The brave Don McGaffin has died but there is much more footage.

    Weeping:
    http://www.king5.com/news/local/60800572.html

    Comment by WSWhaletales — 7:52 pm February 18, 2013 #

  10. These screams and pleas should haunt humanity: The long film was copywrited and hidden.

    Can you stand to listen to this?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=zpphfb6Yq4I&feature=endscreen

    Comment by WSWhaletales — 8:09 pm February 18, 2013 #

  11. NOAA and its fisheries branch known by the acronym of NFMS had to be sued by Washington state to prevent aquariums and other opportunists from capturing orcas in our local waters. These same two agencies had to be sued by environmental groups and biologists to get these same whales protected under the Endangered Species Act. They fought hard against it in federal court and wasted millions of taxpayer dollars and many years that could have been spent on initiating a recovery plan. They also fought against protecting salmon under the ESA, again wasting taxpayer money on legal fees that could have been spent on salmon recovery. Efforts to protect beluga whales in Alaska and leatherback turtles on the west coast have all been stymied by NOAA and NMFS. Lately, NOAA gave carte blanche to the military to drop bombs and use high-energy sonar known to deafen and kill whales inside the Olympic Marine Sanctuary and all other US waters. Can anyone tell me why we should allow these agencies that fought tooth and nail against protections to now be in charge of recovery plans for these endangered species? Isn’t this the “fox guarding the henhouse”?

    Comment by Mark Lewis — 3:57 pm February 23, 2013 #

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