Oh Tahlequah, oh Scarlet, oh the southern resident orca family. My heart goes out to you this morning here on Penn Cove as the summer sun burns off the morning fog. I am sorry our species continues to starve you and so many others on which you depend….It was reported yesterday that 20 year old Tahlequah (J35) gave birth to a calf that only lived about half an hour. Researchers witnessed her forlornly carrying the carcass on her nose, which is part of the orca grieving process….It was also reported that Scarlet (J50) is still alive, but remains gaunt. Despite being 4 years old, she is the size of a one year old. A boon of returning chinook salmon on the Columbia river led to her successful birth in 2014, but malnutrition is all she’s ever known….Penn Cove is a marker for where southern resident species troubles began & our species began to realize our impact on these precious families. …The last wild orca round up in Washington state, for aquariums and theme parks, happened here 48 years ago. It’s estimated that at least 1/3 of the 150+ population was captured & killed in less than 10 years. …Add to that 48 years of pollution, increase in large ship and tanker noise/traffic, and most devastatingly of all: the severe decline of chinook (southern residents preferred food) and other salmon species, linked to the same issues above as well as overfishing and river dams blocking salmon access to/from spawning grounds. …It’s heartbreaking & devastating news. Many of us have staged protests, written letters, called elected officials in Washington state & BC… but the dams, pollution, noise, traffic remains. The salmon, orca and everything else (including ourselves) in our fragile ecosystem continue to decline. It’s zero hour….Hmmm, how about an organized hunger strike on the steps of the governors mansion? Anyone?

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