Tahlequah, the orca who carried the body of her newborn calf over 1,000 miles as she mourned its tragically premature death, is a mother again! She was spotted swimming happily with a brand new healthy and energetic calf in September 2020. This should be a happy ending for Tahlequah and her family — but sadly, their fight is far from over. They are two of only 73 members of the Southern Resident orca population left, threatened by food scarcity and toxic pollution. And now, the U.S. Navy has said it is willing to possibly harm “up to 51 endangered orcas every year” in order to conduct sonar tests in the whales’ habitat.
This sonar is an incredibly painful sound for orcas to hear, since they have evolved to be highly sensitive to sound in order to hunt, communicate, and navigate their ocean homes. The blasting sound cuts through the water like a knife, causing whales to panic. Confused and in pain, whales will flee for miles off course and become lost or stranded. They could surface or dive too quickly, causing decompression sickness or internal bleeding. Whales are even known to beach themselves rather than stay in the water where this sonar is blaring. Sign the petition if you want to protect Tahlequah, her new baby, and the entire population of Southern Resident orcas — tell the U.S. Navy to extend its no-sonar zone to protect endangered killer whales!