Killer whales, also called orcas, are among Puget Sound’s most distinctive and charismatic inhabitants. They occupy an important niche at the top of the food web and support a multi-million dollar whale-watching industry.
Southern Resident Killer Whales are a unique population of orcas that ranges in the Salish Sea and the West Coast. While other orca populations prey heavily on marine mammals, this population primarily eats fish, and depends heavily on Chinook salmon for food.
In the late-1990s, Southern Resident Killer Whales experienced a dramatic decline in population size. As a result, this population was federally listed as endangered in 2006.
Center for Whale Research
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries West Coast Region
10-Years of Research and Conservation Report
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Northwest Fisheries Science Center
Satellite tagging project
Orca Salmon Alliance
Orcas in Puget Sound: Puget Sound Nearshore Partnership Tech Report 2007-01
J32 preliminary necropsy report
J-32 necropsy results from Fisheries and Oceans Canada