J52 had a short, difficult life.
In September 2017, the two-and-a-half-year-old male orca — one of just 76 endangered southern resident killer whales left in the world — died a painful, wasting death
Whales are intelligent and emotionally sensitive creatures. In fact, researchers who observed J25's pod shortly before his death say that his mother and other orcas repeatedly swam around the ailing young orca
rather than feeding themselves.Sadly, J25 isn’t the only one of these rare orcas to be lost this year. Six other orcas have died and no new orcas were born between July 2016 and July 2017.
One of the main causes for the death J52 and other southern resident orcas: chinook salmon, which are a staple of these orca’s diets, are being driven to extinction by habitat loss, climate change, and pollution. Researchers say that as many as seven in ten pregnancies among southern resident orcas ends in miscarriage
, due largely to the dwindling number of chinook salmon.
In 2016, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is charged with protecting marine species like orcas, listed southern resident orcas as one of eight species at greatest risk of extinction in the wild.
The agency also pledged to expand critical habitat for the species in order to help save the species. Unfortunately, NOAA has so far failed to act on its promise — and these magnificent, rare, and intelligent creatures are paying the price.Don’t let J52 have died in vain. Urge officials at NOAA to expand critical habitat for southern resident orcas now so that these amazing marine mammals don’t disappear forever.