Whale researchers express concern over latest endangered orca death
VANCOUVER - A research scientist says the situation for B.C.'s endangered killer whales is getting worse, not better, and the population may not recover unless chinook salmon runs come back.
Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research in Washington state made the statement after a female whale was seen pushing the body of her dead newborn for two days this week.
The death is the latest in a series of disappointments for those hoping for a revival of the endangered southern resident whale population, of which there are only 75 whales remaining.
Balcomb says in the last three years all of the calves born to the southern residents have died.
He says dwindling chinook stocks mean mother whales aren't getting enough food and therefore aren't producing enough milk for their calves.
The federal government limited the chinook salmon fishery this year in an effort to save the species and also banned vessels from getting closer than 200 metres to killer whales in Canadian waters.