Center for Whale Research June 16, 2001
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
Astrid van Ginneken, Co-Principal Investigator, Center for Whale Research 360-378-5835
Kelley Balcomb-Bartok, media liaison e-mail: email@example.com 360-378-3557
L-1 (adult male / born ~1959 / one surviving sister L-54
L-11 (adult female / born 1957 / mother of five offspring - 3 surviving
L-39 (adult male / born 1975 / mother L-2 and 3 younger siblings survive)
L-62 (adult male / born 1980 / mother L-27 survives, 3 younger siblings deceased)
L-98* (calf born 1999 / mother L-67 survives)
L-99* (calf born 2000 / mother L-47 and 2 older siblings survive)
K-32 (calf born 2000 / mother K-16 survives
*(At present, with the loss of L-98 and L-99, no calves in L-pod born since L-95, in 1996, have survived)
New calves born this year include:
J-37 (calf born to J-14, her third); K-33 (calf born to K-22, her first).
With the absence of seven individuals and the addition of two calves, the total population numbers for the southern community is 78, with L-pod now at 41, K-pod at 17, and J-pod at 20. When research began on these pods in 1976, there were 71 whales total; the population peaked at 99 whales in 1995 while there has been a precipitous decline since that time.
The numbers for all years of the study are as follows:1976 71 whales; 1977 79 whales;
Factors that may play a role in the population decline include:
The southern community killer whale pods were captured on 13 separate occasions in the Puget Sound area between 1965 and 1976 with 36 reported whales taken for aquariums throughout the world.
In recent years many salmon stocks have been dramatically reduced to dangerously low levels, with several species recently listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
High levels of Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxins (PBTs) including Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) have been found in samples taken from recovered bodies of several members of the J and L-pods.
In the past ten years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of whale watching vessels following the whales, which may add stress on already weakened individuals in times of duress.
The data collected by the Center for Whale Research is to be cited specifically to the Center and no other organization, and any/all uses should clearly state the information came from the Center for Whale Research.Susan Berta Orca Conservancy 2403 S. North Bluff Rd Greenbank,WA 98253 firstname.lastname@example.org www.orcaconservancy.org www.rockisland.com/~tokitae (360) 678-3451