The Lives They Lived - Baby Orca
By Brooke Jarvis for NYTimes Magazine - published Dec 30 2018
This..."By the time the calf finally sank, at least 15 days after the half-hour of her life, J35's tour felt like more than mourning. It felt like an accusation." Read Article Here
Accusation indeed. There has been a fairly decent amount of coverage - mostly by Lynda Mapes of The Seattle Times over the past year regarding the plight of our Totemic Southern Resident Orca Pods J, K, & L. What we can not escape is the incredible history that has lead them to this terrible current reality. The 1960s - 1970s were open season for capturing and killing or selling (to Sea World mostly) aprox 200 of these whales. That was a big dagger at the heart of viability in and of itself.
However, I argue that our 100+ year of polluting no-outlet Puget Sound has done more damage and simply cannot be reversed despite how many dams we remove and how many Chinnook salmon we manage to bring back up rivers and streams. The single biggest geologic treasure we have in Seattle IS the sound. It does not circulate with ocean currents like the waters around our Canadian cousin's Vancouver Island (whos resident Orca pods are actually thriving btw) Our water is chock full - of drugs, antibiotics, agricultural runoff, noise from increased vessel traffic - the list goes on and on. The particles are too small to clean out of the water. These particles mess up the Orca and Salmon immune systems, wreaking havoc on their ability to stave off disease, find and eat prey - and of course they also build up in the larger animals and subsequently the unborn calfs are highly toxic by the time they are born. What a downer! What can be done?! I don't know, it makes me mad and sad and frustrated. Please dispose of your meds properly, use less fertilizer etc etc. I suppose every little bit helps.
I'm done venting, but it is important to realize that one of the best things we have in Seattle is a 'Sense of Place' That is Rainier - the Cascades - the Olympics - and the Sound - all coming together in this little emerald gem to offer us a fabulous lifestyle full of natures delights. It is also a large part of why our Real Estate will continue to out-perform the national figures - or not - depending on our responses and pro-active remedies we deploy today.