Salish Sea Southern Resident Orca Whales

In honor of Tahlequah.

In summer of 2018, an orca whale known to researchers as J35 or Tahlequah–that is a member of the critically endangered Southern Resident pod found in the Salish Sea–gave birth to a calf on July 24th, but it only lived for half an hour. The mother then proceeded to push her dead calf known as Ti-Tahlequah for 17 days, accompanied in grief by other orcas in the clan.

Many of the young orcas in this pod are severely malnourished, reports Lynda V. Mapes in a recent article in the Seattle Times. Taylor Shedd, a researcher with Soundwatch, notes the critical threats to these highly intelligent and social animals: “The whales are suffering from at least three challenges: vessel noise, which interrupts their foraging; toxins, which are released into their bloodstream and calves’ milk especially when the whales are hungry, and lack of food, especially chinook salmon.”

This record-breaking emotional sojourn is THE STORY that we consider our call to action in 2019.

For our first partnership of 2019, we will participate in GiveBIG 2019 on May 8, with a dedicated page raising donations from the community to support The Orca Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the whales of the Pacific Northwest, and the importance of providing them healthy and safe habitats.

We are actively seeking partnerships and researching organizations doing the best work to support the Southern Resident Orca population struggling to survive in the Salish Sea and the Puget Sound. Please contact us if you or others you know are interested in joining us.

©2019 The Mother House Fund A donor advised fund of The Seattle Foundation The Seattle Foundation Development by Barn Door Productions