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Southern resident killer whales suffered a significant population decline in the late 1990s and are now listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. NOAA

With only 74 remaining in the wild, time is running out to save southern resident killer whales, especially after two died this summer.

This week, the Canadian government announced a slew of measures to save the critically endangered species. The $61.5 million (US$50 million) initiative will address three key threats to the orcas: a lack of chinook salmon, the whales' favored prey; contaminants in the water; and vessel traffic and noise that interferes with their hunting abilities, according to a news release from the Fisheries and Oceans department.

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Tahlequah or J35, has carried her dead calf for 17 days as of Thursday. Center for Whale Research

Tahlequah—a southern resident killer whale whose heartbreaking story has captured attention around the world—has been carrying her dead calf for more than two weeks now.

Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research told The Seattle Times that the mother orca has pushed the carcass for a 17th straight day for more than 1,000 miles as of Thursday.

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An endangered southern resident killer whale known as Tahlequah or J35, has carried her dead calf for an eighth day in a row as of Tuesday. Center for Whale Research

She hasn't let go. An endangered southern resident killer whale known as Tahlequah or J35, has carried her dead calf for an eighth day in a row as of Tuesday, the Seattle Times reported.

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