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Pia VanHanen
Pia VanHanen signed this petition

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries West Coast Region has taken unprecedented actions of administering antibiotics to a wild whale, J-50 aka Scarlet, an almost 4-year old ailing orca who is one of the 75 remaining members of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population. Her condition has continued to worsen, and the team responding to J-50 Scarlet is “considering future scenarios where experts might conclude that temporary human care in some form is warranted”, as published on the NOAA West Coast Fisheries webpage dedicated to J-50.

Having the best interest of a wild whale at heart, we strongly say NO to any capture attempts of J-50 Scarlet. The numerous risks involved greatly outweigh any possible positive outcomes. The risks of her dying in captivity in the near future or living in captivity for the rest of her life due to being deemed unfit to be returned to the wild, are high. The risk of causing irreversible trauma to the already vulnerable Southern Resident Killer Whale population is one we are not willing to take.

Southern Resident orcas spend their whole lifetimes with their mothers and form close social bonds with their families. Only last month, J-35 Tahlequah showed the world how incredibly strong the bond is that exists between a mother and her calf. We all witnessed her overwhelming grief while she carried her dead calf for 17 days and over 1,000 miles. Humans should not intervene with that special bond and take a calf away from her mother, no matter what the circumstances. Any attempt to intervene with these endangered whales is incredibly stressful to the pod. Trauma of a capture would likely be intolerable both to J-50 Scarlet and her family.

We deeply care about J-50 Scarlet and wish nothing more than for her to survive and get well – while putting the best interest of her and her pod first. We want J-50 Scarlet to remain with her family, where she belongs, for all of her remaining days.

Simultaneously, we greatly encourage NOAA to take bold action and address the threats impacting the Southern Resident Killer Whales on a population level to keep this majestic and intelligent species from going extinct.

Add your name now to tell NOAA Fisheries West Coast NO to any attempt to capture J-50 Scarlet.