Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Special Report: Southern Resident Killer Whales

report cover, 10 years of Research and Conservation
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10 Years of Research and Conservation June 25, 2014

Today, NOAA Fisheries released a report highlighting the accomplishments of 10 years of dedicated research and conservation of the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population. With a decade of federal funding and productive partnerships with the killer whale community, we have taken targeted actions, collected substantial new data, and refined scientific techniques to protect this listed species and ensure a strong foundation for its recovery.

Some Findings and Milestones

  • Southern Residents favor Chinook salmon as prey.
  • They are among the most contaminated marine mammals in the world.
  • When vessels are present, they hunt less and travel more.
  • NOAA established new vessel approach regulations and oil spill contingencies to protect the whales.
  • In the winter, they forage along the West Coast as far south as central California.

Looking Ahead

The population continues to struggle to recover, due in part to the influence of risk factors we have yet to fully understand. While we have come a long way in understanding of some key aspects of these risk factors, and have improved our ability to protect these animals, many questions still remain.

For more details, download the report or view the multimedia resources below.

Multimedia: Video

  • image of killer whale tail
    Watch the science behind the recovery of Southern Residents, from using satellite tags to analyzing DNA in whale poop. (Running time: 7 minutes)

Report Graphics

  • map of Salish Sea and Puget Sound and straits. (Map by Damon Holzer, NWFSC/NOAA Fisheries.)
    View graphics from the report.

Meet the Staff

  • Meet the NOAA staff who are helping protect and conserve endangered Southern Residents.

Multimedia: Photos

  • image of killer whale
    View images of Southern Resident killer whales.

Multimedia: Animation

  • map of satellite track of killer whales
    Follow satellite track of tagged Southern Resident (K25) during early 2013. Download the QuickTime QuickTime plugin if needed.

Multimedia: Animation

  • map of satellite track of killer whales
    Follow satellite track of tagged Southern Resident (L87) during early 2014. Download the QuickTime plugin if needed.

Multimedia: Podcast

  • NOAA Fisheries On The Line
    Listen to NOAA podcast "Killer in Distress" (Running time: 11 minutes).

More Resources

  • The next link/button will exit from NWFSC web site Learn more about the management and recovery of Southern Residents.