Senator Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas, released the following statement regarding the need for action to protect and recover the Southern Resident Killer Whale.
“The past days have been overwhelming with sorrow, anguish and anger. Like you, I have been deeply impacted by the images of the mother with her dead calf.
“It is far past time that we act. The loss of another Southern Resident Killer Whale, the mother’s continued display of grief, and now another young member of J pod facing starvation are all gruesome reminders of the dangerous predicament these magnificent creatures face. Our resident Orca have not had a successful pregnancy in three years. The reality is that these incredible creatures are at extreme risk of becoming extinct. This is not an option. We must do every single thing in our power to reverse this trend.
“This is exactly why I introduced the Orca Protection Act last session. Many of us in the Senate worked so hard to pass it, but, unfortunately, this critical legislation did not make it to the governor’s desk. Our efforts continue and we are developing new recommendations for the short and long term.
“The Southern Resident Killer Whale task force, on which I serve, is developing recommendations that will come back to the Legislature next year. As a member of that panel, I am doing everything in my power to make sure we produce bold recommendations — recommendations that put aside politics, and in some cases compromise, and purely focus on recovering our resident Orca.
· We must recover their primary food source, Chinook salmon.
· We must prioritize the cleanup of toxins in the Puget Sound.
· We must protect the whales from harassment and noise pollution from vessels.
· We must make sure there is not an oil spill that is the demise of an entire pod as occurred in the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
“Politics as usual is not an option. It will take dedication, resources and political courage to save these whales.
“Witnessing extinction is not an option. The struggle of these creatures is indicative of the struggle of the entire Salish Sea. These magnificent creatures and this incredible place we call home must be protected. These beautiful whales do not get a second chance. We do not get a second chance.”