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With Just 76 Orcas Left, Washington Gov. Orders Protections for Beloved Killer Whales
There are only 76 orcas left in Puget Sound, down from 98 in 1995. Their numbers have dipped due to pollution, underwater noise and disturbances from boat traffic, and lack of their favored prey. Recent deaths, particularly among calves, mothers and pregnant whales, appear to be driven by food scarcity.
"The diets of southern resident orcas consist largely of Chinook salmon, but the Chinook are listed on federal and state endangered species lists," Inslee's office noted. "If the Chinook population continues to decline, the southern resident orca population will follow."
Gov. Inslee signed an executive order Wednesday outlining a strategy for southern resident orca and Chinook recovery. State agencies have been instructed to outline immediate steps and long-term solutions to recover these species.
"The problems faced by orcas and salmon are human-caused, and we as Washingtonians have a duty to protect these species," Inslee said. "The impacts of letting these two species disappear would be felt for generations."
The order also creates a task force that will propose funding and legislation to help southern resident orcas. Its first report, due Nov. 1, will highlight problems the whales face, including a lack of prey, toxic contaminants and vessel traffic and noise.
Thomas "Les" Purce, former president of The Evergreen State College, will serve as one of the co-chairs of the task force.
"This is not going to be easy work," he said, but it is important to "recognize that the work we're doing now is so critical, not just for the orcas, but to all of us and the future of our kids .... It's what we leave them."
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The annual Arctic thaw has kicked off with record-setting ice melt and sea ice loss that is several weeks ahead of schedule, scientists said, as the New York Times reported.
'This Should Scare the Hell Out of You': Photo of Greenland Sled Dog Teams Walking on Melted Water Goes Viral
By Jon Queally
In yet the latest shocking image depicting just how fast the world's natural systems are changing due to the global climate emergency, a photograph showing a vast expanse of melted Arctic ice in Greenland — one in which a pair of sled dog teams appear to be walking on water — has gone viral.
By Tia Schwab
It has been almost a year since Hurricane Florence slammed the Carolinas, dumping a record 30 inches of rainfall in some parts of the states. At least 52 people died, and property and economic losses reached $24 billion, with nearly $17 billion in North Carolina alone. Flood waters also killed an estimated 3.5 million chickens and 5,500 hogs.
'Huge Victory' for Grassroots Climate Campaigners as NY Lawmakers Reach Deal on Sweeping Climate Legislation
By Julia Conley
Grassroots climate campaigners in New York applauded on Monday after state lawmakers reached a deal on sweeping climate legislation, paving the way for the passage of what could be some of the country's most ambitious environmental reforms.
Tens of Thousands Flee Extreme Heatwave in India as Temperatures Topping 120°F Kill Dozens Across Country
By Julia Conley
Nearly 50 people died on Saturday in one Indian state as record-breaking heatwaves across the country have caused an increasingly desperate situation.
By Will J. Grant
In an ideal world, people would look at issues with a clear focus only on the facts. But in the real world, we know that doesn't happen often.
People often look at issues through the prism of their own particular political identity — and have probably always done so.