Washington’s Lummi Nation calls for state of emergency around starving southern resident whales

Washington's Lummi Nation calls for state of emergency around starving southern resident whales

Scientists used drone footage for aerial images that show the deteriorating body condition of southern resident killer whale J17. Photo courtesy Twitter/NOAA.

Aerial images of adult female Southern Resident killer whale “J17,” displaying very poor body condition on May 6, 2019. NOAA said readers can note the white eye patches that trace the outline of her skull due to a reduction in fat around the head. Her condition is contrasted to September 2018, when she was also very lean but had not yet developed such an obvious “peanut head”, and to September 2015 when she was clearly pregnant (note width at mid body) and in peak recent condition. Images obtained by Holly Fearnbach (SR3) and John Durban (NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center)using a remotely-piloted drone under NMFS Research Permit #19091. Photo courtesy Twitter/NOAA.

The Lummi Nation in Washington state is urging U.S. officials to recognize a state of emergency around the health of two starving southern resident killer whales.

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released photos that show an adult known as J-17 and her daughter, J-53 appear to have lost a lot of weight since their last health assessment.

A statement from the Lummi says their people have a sacred obligation to take care of the whales and feed them in the same way they would their own family and it wants NOAA to fulfill that trustee duty.

The U.S. administration has already said it doesn’t plant to intervene, but it will continue to evaluate its options and consult with experts over the declining health of the animals.


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