Polaris, Dipper, and the Death of the Southern Resident Killer Whales: Pt 6: Saving the SRKW

Saving the Southern Residents

Blogger: Alexandra Barron

Like Courtney, who wrote the brilliant guest blogs you have been reading all week, I have been fortunate enough to spend some time getting to know BC’s southern resident orcas. And I agree with Courtney that once you get to know them, they will stay a part of you forever.

As you have probably been learning from the guest blogs this week, things are not looking good for our southern resident orcas. They face a number of serious threats that don’t act in isolation but combine to multiply their effects with disastrous consequences. This was the case for Polaris, with a combination of factors conspiring to cause her untimely death.

So... what can we do to help protect our southern residents from so many threats?

Marine protected areas (MPAs), like the proposed Southern Strait of Georgia National Marine Conservation Area, work by protecting large areas of the ocean and the entire ecosystems contained within them. MPAs require that all potentially harmful activities are considered, and carefully managed to protect species and ecosystems.

The proposed Southern Strait of Georgia National Marine Conservation Area will cover large portion of our southern resident killer whales critical habitat, from Haro Strait in the south, to Active Pass in the North, and out into the Strait of Georgia. These are areas that are incredibly important as feeding grounds and migratory corridors for the southern residents. Put simply, it is their home.

MPAs are also permanent, providing consistent, long-term protection. Killer whales don’t start breeding until they are 14 or 15 years old so it may take a long time for their populations to fully recover.

By ensuring that these home waters stay safe, quiet, clean, and contain plentiful food for many years to come, we can give our southern resident killer whales the best possible chance for survival and recovery.

We need your help

Visit www.homeoftheorcas.org and send a letter to the Ministers asking them to make protecting our orcas and establishing the Southern Strait of Georgia National Marine Conservation Area a priority.

Make a donation to support our work

Help us to spread the word by sharing this blog


Missed the first part of this series? Check out our blog for parts 1-5!


To learn more about killer whales, check out:

Jim Waddell - Presenting the Case for Breaching the Corps' Lower Snake River Dams https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D6S0oy7gjc

Center for Whale Research



Killer whale miscarriages linked to low food supply

Photo by: Cory Lagasse