Orca Survey Today and in the Future

The future of Orca survey is of exceptional importance because the Greater Puget Sound is being increasingly utilized and exploited by a growing human population. One of the problems now facing this region is its decreasing salmon runs. Presently, one half of the natural salmon runs of the Greater Puget Sound are threatened with depletion or extinction. This is the main prey species of the resident killer whales.

Alternative prey species such as bottom fish, are often heavily contaminated with toxic substances. How does the top predator in this ecosystem respond to these problems? Monitoring the status and population dynamics of these top predators is the most effective and realistic way of determining whether these environmental problems are adversely affecting the ecosystem. If these problems are causing havoc with the killer whales, then humans are next in line.

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