Frequently Asked Questions

How many Southern Resident Orcas are there?


Our critically endangered Southern Resident Orcas are down to 73 family members. Since 1998, 77 have either gone "missing (presumed deceased)" or have died.




What do the Southern Resident Orcas eat?


Chinook Salmon make up 80% of the Southern Resident's diet. For the remaining 73 Southern Resident Orcas to survive they need to consume 500,000 Salmon per year as a pod and they need 384 pounds of Salmon each, per day.




What is the number one action to Save the Southern Resident Orcas?


Remove the lower four snake river dams. Salmon populations are rapidly decreasing because they can no longer reach their ancient spawning grounds due to massive dams. Breaching the lower four snake river dams is the only solution which will save the Salmon and the southern resident Orcas. After the useless dams are breached it will take 2-3 years for the salmon populations to recover so during this interim there needs to be a temporiary halt on Chinook Salmon fishing so the Orcas have something to survive on. The Orcas need the remaining Salmon if they are going to survive.




What is the difference between a Resident and a Transient Orca?


The Southern Resident Orca consume only fish, specifically Chinook Salmon. The Transient Orca are an entirely different species who consume only mammals. They both share the same Salish Seawaters and yet consume entirely different foods. The Transient Orcas are thriving in the same polluted, loud, busy waters as the Southern Resident Orcas but the difference is food availability.




How can I help?


Call the Washington Governor Jay Inselee, Senator Maria Cantwell, Senator Patty Murray, General Semonite of the Army Corps of Engineers, and Kelly Susewind Director of WA wildlife and fisheries. Ask them to breach the four lower snake river dams immediately in 2018 and temporarily halt salmon fishing until the chinook salmon populations have recovered. Visit our Action page or click here for the numbers. Also, when you spend your money you are excercising the most powerful vote of all, endeavor to spend it locally on sustainable goods. This cuts down on shipping traffic and use of oil. At this time of such scarcity refrain from buying, ordering or eating salmon until there are enough fish to sustain the Southern Resident Orcas.




What about farmed Salmon?


Farmed Salmon are an unnatural, invasive species carrying deadly viruses (PRV Virus) which poison wild Salmon with disease. The farmed salmon also physically attack wild Salmon. Farmed salmon are harmful, disease riddled horrors which must be banned immediately.




How much food do Orcas need?


The Southern Resident Orcas need 384lbs of Salmon per day per Orca to survive or 500,000 lbs for the whole pod per year. To achieve a population increase from 73 Southern Resident Orcas to 120 Orcas, the Salish Sea would need to provide about 1,000,000 pounds of Salmon per year. This is possible if the lower four snake river dams are breached.




How big are Orcas?


They are generally between 16-26ft and can weigh up to 6 tons!




Where do our Salmon spawn?


The Fraser River and the Columbia River (which links to the Snake River). These rivers with their Salmon runs are the life force for our Southern Resident Orcas. The Orcas depend upon the Salmon spawning in these rivers for sustenance at different parts of the year. The warmth of the Frasier River and the useless dams of the Columbia River are destroying the populations of Salmon which is destroying our populations of Southern Resident Orcas. No fish No blackfish.




Why should we temporarily halt Salmon fishing?


Commercial fishing boats devour tens of thousands of Salmon from the Salish Sea every week and our Salmon cannot spawn because of the useless lower four snake river dams thus, the remaining Salmon swimming in the Salish Sea are all the Salmon left. So even after the useless dams are breached it will take 2-3 years for the Salmon populations to recover, so during this interim, there needs to be a temporary halt on Chinook Salmon fishing so the Orcas have something to survive on.




Are the seals eating too many Salmon?


The seals have been a misguided scapegoat ignorantly blamed for the decline of Chinook Salmon. Even the politicians jumped on that band wagon so they could avoid the responsibility of Salmon extinction being absolutely linked to human negligence. Science based organizations like the Sea Doc Society have released reports showing that seals and sea lions (pinnipeds) only consume Salmon as a food source about 20% of the time. Of that 20% only 1/4 of the Salmon is Chinook Salmon, which is the primary food source of the Southern Resident Orca's diet. The Pinnipeds rely upon herring and other fish including Salmon but due to habitat loss, there's a shortage of all fish in the Salish Sea. With unprecedented numbers of Transient Orcas, the mammal eating variety of Orcas, the seal population is diminishing which is taking pressure off of the Chinook Salmon. Nature will always take care of itself if we just allow everything to heal.




How did PNW Protectors get started?


We founded PNW Protectors after witnessing the tragedy of losing J50 Scarlet, L92 Crewser, J52 Sonic, K13 Skagit, J2 Granny, J34 Doublestuf, J54 Dipper, J28 Polaris, J14 Samish, L95 Nigel, J55 newborn, L27 Ophelia, J32 Rhapsody all within three and a half years. We were slowly watching the magnificent Southern Resident Orca population slip, one by one, due to starvation right before our eyes and we realized with shocking clarity that the politicians on their own volition were doing nothing to save the Orcas from extinction. We were watching as the courts failed to uphold the endangered species act after 30 years of lawsuits on the Snake River Dams and we saw that Kinder Morgan proceeded to move forward with their pipeline even when the court directly ordered them to halt their progress. We felt powerless and dismayed as we witnessed the creeping extinction of Chinook Salmon and Southern Resident Orcas so we made a decision to do something: we sought to be the voice for the voiceless and we began amassing information from scientists, naturalists, conservationists, politicians, fisherman, environmentalists and researchers to share with everyone in order to empower one another at an individual level to make the powerful, necessary and critical changes to save the Southern Resident Orcas in this eleventh hour. There is a saying that rings true that "The people should not fear the government, the government should fear it's people." In a non-violent interpretation of this quote, we feel it is absolutely spot-on because politicians have to be re-elected and they count upon us to make that happen. The more pressure we apply through our phone calls, emails, petitions, faxes, hand written letters and public comments at meetings that they receive....the more they realize that if they do not oblige to the people's requests and demands, then they will fast be out of a job. We have seen this in action in just the last few months when earlier this summer, the Orca Task Force meeting failed to address breaching the Lower Four Snake River Dams as a viable option to save the SRKW and it only received a few hundred public comments. Then, through all of our relentless calling campaigns, as a collective force together over the past month there was a huge shift: not only was the topic of breaching the dams addressed at the August 7th Orca Task Force meeting, but the governor actually stated he would consider breaching it in 2022. This date is unacceptable because the Orcas need salmon before 2022 of course, but it shows we are making progress, bit by bit. Also, the public comments for the August 7th meeting tallied in at 43K! Together we can Save our Southern Resident Orcas. YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE!





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