Give the orca whales a wide berth | Editorial

As part of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which was originally adopted in 1972 and later updated over the subsequent years, it is a federal offense to intentionally come within 200 yards of a marine mammal. An orca, otherwise known as a killer whale, is a marine mammal.

On the 4th of July, Eastsound was granted a rare opportunity to catch a view of a handful of transient orcas swimming through the shallow waters. Cameron Fralick of Deer Harbor Charters had followed the orcas in from Rosario into the shores of the village.

While observing the orcas from the safety of his vessel, Fralick observed a man jump off his kayak into the water just three feet away from the carnivorous animals.

Please don’t do that.

There have been a couple reported “attacks” on humans by killer whales in the wild, but that doesn’t mean that you should just jump in and see what happens. Additionally, as was stated before, it’s a federal offense to get that close to marine wildlife and there’s a state law against it. The 200-yard rule applies to boats and water crafts as well.

As the probability of transient orca sightings near shore increases, so will the stupidity of people. Remind friends, family and tourists that although the orcas are very beautiful and very majestic, they’re also very large and very dangerous.

The transient orcas eat mammals such as harbor seals, sea lions and more. There hasn’t been a reported case of an orca killing a person in the wild – but it’s an entirely different story when they’re in captivity. For more details on that, watch the documentary “Blackfish.” With the rise in potential human-orca interactions, the likelihood of a deadly event also increases.

So, please, don’t break the law and don’t risk your life trying to swim with the orcas. It’s a surefire way to earn your Darwin Award.