Southern Residents have a New Threat to Deal With
Southern resident killer whale. (supplied by NIMMSA)
As if the lack of salmon and boat noise wasn’t enough, it seems the majestic southern resident killer whales have another threat to deal with.
The cetacean morbillivirus, usually found in mammals in the Atlantic Ocean has found its way to the Pacific, specifically the Pacific white-sided dolphins, a species that orcas frequently interact with.
Much like the Coronavirus, this virus is spread through water droplets.
If one orca gets it, it’s likely it will be passed to at least 90 percent of the population, and, according to a biologist at the Whale Research Centre on San Juan Island, it has extinction potential when it comes to the 73 remaining southern residents.
The best way to protect these orcas is to make sure they have enough chinook salmon to eat.