NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service: Deny the petition to remove orcas from the endangered Species List.
This petition made change with 434 supporters!
On November 26, 2012 the National Marine Fisheries Service accepted a petition filed on behalf of the Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy & Reliability, representing Empresas Del Bosque and Coburn Ranch, two San Joaquin Valley farming interests, to remove the Endangered Species listing for the Southern Resident Pod of Orcas. As grounds for their petition, CESAR states that there is no conclusive scientific basis for for designation of the Southern Resident Pod as a Distinct Population Segment.
The Southern Resident Pod is estimated to have had a peak population of 200 orcas. By 1971 that population had been reduced to approximately 67 whales due to hunting, environmental issues and the depredations of the captive display industry. In 2001 a petition was filed with the NMFS to designate the Southern Resident pod as an Endangered Species. On November 18, 2005 the NMFS issued a final rule designating the pod as a Distinct Population Segment based on morphology, ecology, behavior and genetics. According to research filed with the NMFS, J, K, and L pods are a discrete population with their own social groupings, behaviors and dialect who do not associate or interbreed with other Orca populations in the Northern pacific Ocean ( i.e. Transient or Oceanic populations). A 5 year review of this decision was
completed in March 2011 and it was concluded that no change was needed and that the Southern Resident Killer Whale DPS would remain listed as endangered.
The current population of Southern Resident Orcas is estimated at 86 individuals. At their current rate of repopulation the pods could possibly return to historical numbers by the year 2272. That puts their recovery well into the seventh generation!
So who do we stand with ? The agricultural interests looking for unfettered access to the rich waters of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta? Or do we protect the rights of the highly intelligent, self aware, incredibly social beings of J, K and L pods to exist, unmolested in the waters of the Pacific Northwest? Where does our future lie, in the profit margins of Corporate America or in the resurgence of one of the most important species on the planet?
I know that I hope to stand one day , on the shores of the Johnstone Straits with my children and grandchildren, and watch one of the greatest spectacles our planet has to offer. To witness the passage of these noble beings on their annual migration, to hear their calls as they hunt and play in the clear waters of the sound. And to know that I did not allow greed to win over nature !
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