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Congressman Denny Heck Introduces Resolution Declaring June “National Orca Protection Month”

Jun 4, 2019
Press Release

Congressman Denny Heck (WA-10) introduced a resolution declaring June 2019 “National Orca Protection Month” to honor the iconic whales.

The resolution highlights the Southern Resident killer whales, the endangered community of orcas living in the coastal waters of the Northwestern United States and Southwestern Canada.

In July of last year, a Southern Resident orca named Tahlequah—also known as J35—gave birth to a calf who died shortly thereafter. As the world watched, Tahlequah pushed her dead calf through the water for 17 days, keeping it afloat, unwilling to let it go.

“There is a glimmer of hope,” said Heck. “Just a few days ago, another newborn calf was spotted swimming with the very same pod in which last summer’s heart-wrenching scene played out. But protecting the orca populations in our waters will require more than just hope. It will require a sustained effort on the parts of state, federal, and tribal governments to restore Puget Sound. To save the orcas, we must save the salmon. To save the salmon, we must save the Sound.

“I call on my colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass this resolution and affirm that protecting these majestic creatures is a priority for Congress.”

Two Southern Resident calves have been born so far in 2019, bringing the total population of Southern Resident orcas to 76, up from 75 this time last year, which at the time represented the lowest population level in 34 years.