More orcas are predicted to die as noise from passing vessels, pollutants and lack of food have combined to threaten the species. (File photo)

Plight of orcas examined in Sooke forum

UVic researcher discusses slow moving extinction of the species

A group of Sooke residents have organized a meeting and public presentation to raise awareness about the plight of the region’s southern resident killer whales.

The group, Sooke Forum, has invited Lauren McWhinnie of the University of Victoria to speak about her research on the orcas in the Salish Sea.

The research focuses on the impact of vessel noise on the the southern resident killer whales. That noise, generated by passing ship traffic, interferes with the whales’ ability to communicate, forage and navigate.

RELATED: More orcas expected to die

The frequency of ship noise overlaps with orca communication, according to a recent study. The noise blends with the sounds made by the orcas and interferes with echolocation, which orcas use for navigation and to hunt prey.

McWhinnie will talk about the slow-moving extinction that is now in motion for the whales, with only 74 of the orcas remaining, down from 97 in 1996.

She will also speak about other threats to the orcas’ survival, including pollutants and the declining chinook salmon populations. Chinook salmon is the primary food source for the whales.

So dire is the situation, said Sooke Forum spokesperson George Butcher, that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced $61 million in funding to protect the endangered southern residents – on top of a previously announced $167 million to improve prey availability and reduce disturbance of the whales.

“This is a very timely talk for Sooke, given the concern about the impact of increased tanker traffic,” Butcher said.

“McWhinnie will also talk about placing hydrophones at the entrance to Sooke’s harbour to monitor boat noise, so that will probably be of interest to the people of Sooke,”

The public presentation takes place Jan. 29 at Edward Milne Community School at 7 p.m.

There is no charge for admission.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Backyardigans, Max & Ruby stage shows add to Family Day in Sidney

Bodine Hall shows make room for kids to sing, dance, enjoy Family Day weekend

Overworked and understaffed: More than 300 vacancies in Vancouver Island nursing

Tentative deal with province includes ‘working short premium’ to encourage hiring

Victoria city council seeks authority to tax empty homes

Council is asking the province for the authority to invoke a vacancy tax

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes says municipality will re-group after Rowing Canada decision

Haynes said he is “quite disappointed” but also respects choice of North Cowichan as national centre

WATCH: Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

VIDEO: Excessive speed on the Malahat captured by dash cam footage

Poster calls driving ‘dangerous, obnoxious and disrespectful’

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Most Read