Just a few weeks after the presumed death of Southern Resident Killer Whale K21, another resident orca is reported to be in bad shape – and this one is just two years old. News of J56’s condition is in a state Department of Fish and Wildlife news release today reminding boaters to give orcas space. In particular, the state has issued an emergency order for commercial whale-watching boats to stay at least half a mile away from J56 and the group with which she is traveling. The news release does not specify their last-known location but the Orca Network reported via its sightings email update that J-Pod was seen in the San Juan Islands earlier this week. Research has shown that vessel noise is a particular stressor for orcas, and that females tend to stop foraging for food when boats are within 400 yards. There’s more information here about giving whales space when you’re out on the water (and how to report violations if you see them).
West Seattle, Washington