Beacon Transcript – Scientists believe that one of the most efficient ways of saving Puget Sound Orcas is by breaching the local dams, with authorities demanding a plan that could prove and counter its effects.
Researchers are trying to find ways of helping and saving orcas as the animal’s numbers have fallen to their lowest rates in decades.
As the latest census has shown, the number of resident killer whales, or orcas, has reduced to just 80 after it registered a peak of 100 members.
The Center for Whale Research on Friday Harbor also announced that three whales are missing and believed to be dead.
The three, which were frequent visitors to the Washington waters area, have not made an appearance for a significant time period, with two new additions being added to the July census and raising the number to three.
July revealed the absence of a female whale, about 42 years old, and the most recent census added two new whales to the list. One of them is recognized as J28 and is also a female specimen, about 23 years old. The other absent is the latter whale’s 10 month-old offspring.
J28 is thought to have died sometime during the past week in the general Strait of Juan de Fuca area. The calf left behind is not believed to be able to survive on its own without the mother.
One of the major reasons for the death of baby whales and also their mothers is the lack of nourishment sources. As the local dams are blocking food sources, Puget Sound Orcas are finding it harder to reach their fish food.
The species preferred fish specimen is the chinook salmon, a fatter and larger type of swimmer, whose numbers have been declining as well.
Scientists and conservations consider that the best option for both increasing the number of salmon fish and replenishing the orcas’ food source is a breaching of the dams.
The breach in the four dams could open up the contained waters of the Lower Snake River and ensure a habitat for the chinook salmon.
A proposition on the matter was already advanced but was turned down in May, this year. The ruling judge asked for a new plan to be made and presented by March 2018.
As some contest the dam breach, arguing that they provide an energy source, the judge drew attention that the new plan should take into consideration all the alternatives and outcomes of bypassing, breaching or removing the dams.
Still, conservationists and scientists are fighting for the salvation of the killer whale, the Puget Sound Orcas as the species as a whole was declared, back in 2015, as an endangered species.
Image Source: Wikimedia