Lifeforce Foundation

1,671 Supporters

Started 2 petitions

Petitioning TheSec@DOC.gov

Stop Barbaric Orca Satellite “Tags” and Skin Biopsies!

Dear Penny Pritzker, Secretary of Commerce: We urge you to intervene and to stop all orca experiments that involve satellite tagging and skin biopsies. Both of these barbaric methods can cause infections and deaths. The death of orca L95 in March 2016 led the US responsible parties to halt all barbaric satellite "tags" pending a review. The "tags" are actually sharp barb-like blades that penetrate the skin. On October 4th a press conference was held by NOAA Fisheries. At that meeting the following information was given: 1. The death of orca L95 was due to a fungal infection. The first dart attempt failed and due to human error it was not properly sterilized as per protocol. It was also done in waters that were known to have this fungus. The dart was shot into the area of the dorsal fin where large blood vessels are located. 2. Unlike Canada that is not using satellite tags since it is deemed too invasive and alternatives are available, NOAA will only suspend the experiments on the endangered SRKWs pending a review. This will not include Transient orcas who also had been tagged and two went missing afterwards. (Alternatives include suction cup tags and underwater sound buoys). 3. L95 had parts of the dart remain in the body and other cases have been reported over the years. There are 12 orcas presently with parts of old “tags” in them. The issue of pain was not discussed. It was stated that one of the ways the tags are removed is by being bitten off by other orcas. In addition, Right whales had swelling from infections and “dolphins” died during “handling” to attach tags. 4. It was stated that it is always a "risk" and NOAA will look at reducing the risks. They said that the researchers were "dismayed" at the possibility that they killed an endangered orca. There must also be a review of harmful skin biopsy experiments. Researchers conduct extremely close pursuits on the orcas’ backs then shoot a biopsy dart into them. It has been observed that the orcas have shaken with fear (dorsal fins quivered). In one case the two offspring shook with fear after their mother was darted. These skin biopsies would also cause pathways for toxic pollution, bacteria, and viruses to infect orcas. An investigation should include any deaths of those orcas who were biopsied too. For Further Information and Support contact lifeforcesociety@hotmail.com

Lifeforce Foundation
616 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Honourable Gail Shea

Endangered Orcas Need Laws and Enforcement Funds for Protection

Dear Honourable Gail Shea, Minister Department of Fisheries and Oceans Re: Please Provide Needed Laws and Enforcement Funds for Endangered Orcas While the US government has increased funding to their Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, your government has cutback crucial funding to stop boat harassment by Whale Watch Companies , and pleasure boaters. The Lifeforce Foundation (lifeforcesociety@hotmail.com) has been campaigning for better laws and enforcement to protect the endangered orcas on Canada’s West Coast . Industry guidelines and self-policing have failed. Lifeforce has investigated numerous boat harassment incidents and provided evidence to Canadian and US enforcement agencies. Our volunteer work has led to fines against whale watch companies and private boaters. In addition to pollution and food depletion, boat harassment is a major threat facing endangered orcas. It is psychologically stressful and can physically injure them. Boat traffic can interrupt their communication, feeding, socializing and more. “It is the responsibility of the US and Canadian governments to adequately fund enforcement agencies. Especially in the case of these endangered orcas. While organizations can educate and assist they are not able to provide enforcement,” stated Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce Founder,” Lifeforce has conducted boat monitoring since 1993 and continues to document the violations to support the need for increase enforcement. Some progress has been made but still a lot more needs to be done to help the orcas survive.” Better Laws In Canada and the US all vessels (including kayaks) must not block the pathways of orcas. In Canada, it is the law that they must also stay 100 yards away. However, in the US it must be 200 yards and 400 yards from approaching orcas. The orcas are a transboundary, endangered species. These laws must be consistent in both countries. The upcoming new Marine Mammal Regulation must include these changes. In addition, 30 minute viewing time limits must be implemented. Education Education materials, such as “Get Off My Tail” and “Be Whale Wise” about the laws, should be part of marina check ins so boaters are aware of the legal distances they must be from orcas. It would help reduce the number of boaters getting too close. It should also be provided by all Whale Watch Companies for their customers. The more eyes on the water the more orca protection. Lifeforce advises those who take a Whale Watch boat trip to take video and photos of the violations by any company/pleasure boaters to help enforcement agencies. If operators are truly following the rules they should be supportive. In Canada Report Violations to Department of Fisheries and Oceans 1-800-465-4336. In US Report Violations to National Marine Fisheries Service 1-800-853-1964. (See http://www.bewhalewise.org/) An option is land based whale watching at Saturna Island and other Victoria/Vancouver areas in Canada. In the US, Point Roberts, WA, and the San Juan Islands, WA. Are great places to see also orcas in the wild. Please provide the needed laws and funding to government enforcement agencies to protect these endangered orcas. Thank you.

Lifeforce Foundation
1,055 supporters