The Southern Residents are among the most at-risk marine mammals in the world. Noise and crowding by boat traffic, chemical contaminants, as well as a scarcity of their preferred food—Chinook salmon—pose serious threats to this endangered population. NOAA Fisheries has designated them one of eight national "Species in the Spotlight," and developed an action plan to promote their recovery and save them from extinction.
We have come a long way in our understanding of this unique population. This is a story about what we've learned, and how we use this knowledge to protect and recover these remarkable whales, found only here, in the coastal waters of the West Coast.