Who We Help
Southern Resident killer whales (orcas) are an iconic Pacific Northwest species and loved by residents in Washington State and beyond. Their black and white bodies and sometimes acrobatic behaviors make them perfect subjects for whale watching cruises around the Salish Sea. Killer whales travel in pods, or family groups and typically make a variety of squeaks, whistles, and calls to communicate and locate features underwater. Southern Residents are a unique community of killer whales who do not interbreed with other orcas. While they are some of the most studied in the whales in the world, many mysteries remain regarding their behaviors, vocalizations, and travel patterns.
While these whales thrill their viewers, they are in serious trouble. In 2005, the federal government listed Southern Resident killer whales as endangered and today, fewer than 80 individuals remain. These whales face a variety of threats including lack of prey (salmon), toxins in the waters, vessel impacts, and the risks of oil spills in high traffic areas. Whale Scout works to mobilize whale watchers to protect Southern Residents against these threats having a positive impact on all animals in the marine ecosystem – including ourselves.