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Orca whale

Lawsuit Forces Federal Protection for Endangered Orcas' West Coast Habitat

SEATTLE— The Center for Biological Diversity has won a victory in the legal battle to force the Trump administration to protect the West Coast habitat of the last remaining Southern Resident killer whales.

The National Marine Fisheries Service has committed to proposing a rule acting on the Center’s 2014 petition for orca habitat protection off Washington, Oregon and California. An expanded designation of critical habitat has to be proposed by early October to help the critically endangered orcas, which are starving for lack of salmon and being hurt by boat traffic and water pollution.

The Center sued the administration last year for delays in protecting orcas in their full habitat range, a violation of the Endangered Species Act. The Southern Resident population dropped to just 75, the lowest number in more than 30 years, as the federal government delayed decisions on expanding protections for the orcas. Read more.

Media Contacts:

Endangered Species: Jim Cronin, Media Specialist jcronin@biologicaldiversity.org, (503) 283-5474 ext. 411
Climate Change, Fracking, California Oil and Gas: Rebecca Fuoco, Media Specialist – rfuoco@biologicaldiversity.org, (213) 785-5400 ext. 109
Public Lands, National Monuments and Borderlands: Mary K. Reinhart, Media Specialist – mkreinhart@biologicaldiversity.org, (602) 320-7309
Oceans, Offshore Drilling, Arctic: Steve Jones, Media Specialist – sjones@biologicaldiversity.org, (415) 305-3866
Pesticides, Toxics and Environmental Health: Andy Parker, Media Specialist – aparker@biologicaldiversity.org, (503) 310-5569
Population, Sustainability, Renewable Energy, Endangered Species Condoms: Jessica Herrera, Media Specialist –  jherrera@biologicaldiversity.org, (520) 345-5726

Patrick Sullivan, Deputy Communications Director, psullivan@biologicaldiversity.org, (415) 632-5316
Mike Stark, Communications Director, mstark@biologicaldiversity.org, (520) 623-5252 ext. 315
Russ McSpadden, Creative Media Specialist – Media Photos, rmcspadden@biologicaldiversity.org

Banner photo Center for Biological Diversity; photo of orca Orca by mrmritter/Flickr