Orca populations total 50,000. But for some populations, overfishing, vessel noise and chemical pollution have become burdens too large to bear.
When it comes to who reigns the animal kingdom, orcas are undoubtedly on top. Few can match the skill and intellect of an orca; but for all the strengths these apex predators possess; they are not immune to human-caused hardships. And today, these hardships are only mounting.
There are 50,000 orcas left in the wild. The most at risk of these orcas are the Southern Residents, found off the coast of British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. This species of killer whales are fish eaters, feeding on Chinook salmon year round. And today, there are only 74 of them (a 24% decline since their population was at its highest in 1995).
What’s put these orcas at such high risk of extinction? These are the three biggest threats: