Killer Whales - Species at Risk
Recovery Strategy for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in Canada.
In 2001 the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) designated the two distinct populations of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in British Columbia waters, the Northern residents as 'threatened' and the Southern residents as ‘endangered’
Resident killer whale populations in BC are presently considered to be at risk because of their small population size, low reproductive rate, and the existence of a variety of anthropogenic threats that have the potential to prevent recovery or to cause further declines. Principal among these anthropogenic threats are environmental contamination, reductions in the availability or quality of prey, and both physical and acoustic disturbance.
Even under the most optimistic scenario the species’ low intrinsic growth rate means that the time frame for recovery will be more than one generation (25 years).
To view the Recovery Strategy for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales visit the Government of Canada Species at Risk website here>>.
The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is an independent advisory organization that evaluates the country’s plant and animal wild species. They are classified as 'endangered', 'threatened', 'of special concern', or 'not at risk'.
Private sector as well as provincial, territorial and federal government scientists and conservation representatives sit on the Committee. Their evaluation is based on a situation report, which is provides an overview of the 'species’ biological situation and includes current scientific, community and traditional aboriginal knowledge.
The status granted by COSEWIC has no legal authority, however, with the adoption of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) in 2003, Canadian government decisions on whether or not to add species to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk are based on COSEWIC evaluations.
Lawsuit to Protect Resident Killer Whales
October 08, 2008
Environmental groups bring legal action against the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada demanding critical habitat be legally protected. The lawsuit alleges that DFO has failed to legally protect critical habitat of BC’s most iconic marine mammals: the endangered Southern Resident and threatened Northern Resident Killer Whales.
Lawsuit Forces Canada to Protect Endangered Killer Whales
February 25, 2009
This week a policy reversal by the federal government of Canada could mark a turning point for Resident Killer Whales in BC. The government issued an Order that will provide legal protection for the endangered species' habitat after a lawsuit was launched by environmentalists.