Could Killer Whales Become Extinct – Yes, But There’s Hope!


October 5, 2017

There is sad news from the West Coast of the U.S. According to reports, a wild juvenile orca within the Southern Resident pod has died from malnutrition.  

The population of the pod has dwindled down to only 76 inhabitants with researchers citing lack of food and refusal to breed outside the pod as the top reasons. While this number may not seem significant, their population is now lower than the number that landed them on the Endangered Species list in 2001, 78 orcas.

We cannot ignore these statistics. This population isn’t going to miraculously recover.  

That’s why SeaWorld partnered with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) through the Killer Whale Research and Conservation Program (KWRCP). We pledged $10 million to fund research and conservation for killer whales in the wild, particularly these Southern Resident Killer Whales. We’re focusing on increasing prey availability, improving habitat quality and strengthening management through crucial research.

Killer Whale Research and Conservation Program from NFWF on Vimeo.

The truth is, killer whales in the wild need our help. We cannot sit back and be idle. Lance Barrett-Lennard, senior marine mammal researcher at the Vancouver Aquarium put it simply, “I would say we are already in a very dangerous situation.” He continued, “If this trajectory continues and we lose two or three more, from deaths or unsuccessful birth, we will be in a real spiral.” 

You may be asking yourself, “Okay, but how can I help?” I’m not a researcher or marine biologist or scientist. One way to help the Southern Resident pod is to educate yourself. We can always learn more and expand our understanding. The Orca Encounter at SeaWorld encourages this by giving a detailed account of statistics, information and risks that these orcas face in the wild. 

Also, did you know that actually visiting SeaWorld helps these killer whales in the wild? 

Your visit to SeaWorld contributed to $10 Million of donations and in-kind services every year for animal rescue and conservation, including for the Southern Resident pod of killer whales. Your visit matters, and this is proof.

Now is not the time for us to sit back and be quiet. We must continue to research, continue to donate, and continue to learn so that we can try to give these killer whales a future. 

Join the SeaWorld Action Team


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