Whales are Forest Creatures? Yes!
The Resident orca whales of the Pacific Northwest are especially connected to the forests
of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska and British Columbia.
How can this be? Orca whales in our forests?
The connection between the Resident orcas of the Pacific Northwest and our forests is
salmon, which is also a forest creature. Resident orcas feed exclusively on salmon and do
not eat marine mammals like their cousin Transient orcas. Salmon, are a forest creature
due to their dependence on the clean cool rivers that drain the forests of the Pacific
Northwest. Salmon spawn in and are born in the clean gravelly "redds" in these
rivers and depend on intact forests to provide a clean, cool, regulated flow of
water. Industrial clearcut logging upsets this fragile balance and can cause rivers to
flood and silt up when it rains and dry up during dry periods. Salmon cant tolerate these
kinds of drastic changes and the end result can be extinction of whole runs of salmon.
Washington State's salmon runs are in such bad shape, due in large part to clearcut
logging, that the situation is considered a crisis and the Endangered Species Act may be
implemented as a last ditch effort to save them. J, K, and L pods, the 3 most common
orca pods observed in Washington and southern BC waters are desperately seeking new sources
of salmon to survive.
|In February 2000, K and L pods were spotted in Monterey Bay off the
California coast. They have never been seen in California before and were most likely
looking for California salmon.
J, K, and L pods are frequently sighted in British Columbia waters. BC still has
around 40% of
its old growth forests left. These forests, and their rivers, are critical salmon spawning
and rearing habitat and will be crucial for the survival of not only J, K, and L pods but
the rest of the Resident and Transient orca pods of the Pacific Northwest. If BC's ancient
forests are clearcut the orca whales of the Pacific Northwest will most likely not
British Columbia's remaining old growth forests must be saved for many reasons. It is
crucial habitat for salmon, black bear, grizzly bear, wolves, birds, and uncountable other
flora and fauna.
However, we must remember that there are other forest dependant creatures that will perish
without restoring the forests in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho and saving the remaining
lush old growth forests of British Columbia.
These creatures are Orca Whales which truly are forest dependant creatures.