Two years ago, Ecojustice and our clients celebrated a landmark win for protection of B.C.'s iconic killer whales under the Species at Risk Act. And while there have been some recent signs that these populations may be on the long road to recovery, proposed projects like the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and now the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 expansion pose new threats to their survival.
After more than a decade of waiting, the Southern Residents are no better off now than when they were listed as endangered 15 years ago. Federal fisheries managers appear unwilling to address the availability of Chinook salmon, an essential food for whales, lest they rile interests in the sports and commercial fishing sectors.
Of 345 species at risk in Canada, more than 160 have waited far too long for recovery strategies. Thanks to a recent federal court decision, four luckier ones are finally getting overdue plans detailing steps needed to save and protect them. But court victories are just a start. It will take political will to ensure species and their habitats get the protection they need.
Janet loves the orcas. At least that's what Enbridge would've had us believe in their now aborted Northern Gateway ads that featured the company's Vice President Janet Holder touting how safe oil tankers are for British Columbia's killer whales. Unfortunately, Janet must not remember what happened to killer whales 24 years ago after the Exxon Valdez grounded on Bligh Reef, or she wouldn't be willing to potentially subject animals she allegedly adores to miserable deaths like those suffered by Alaska's whales.
Moby Doll was the first-ever orca whale to be kept in captivity, courtesy of the Vancouver Aquarium. A whaler was hired to kill an orca for use as a model to build a fiberglass replica for a new public display. The orca was harpooned but she didn't die. So the aquarium directed the whaler to tow her -- by the line attached to the harpoon still stuck in that poor animal -- for 80 nautical miles through rough seas to Vancouver docks. There she was placed in a makeshift sea pen until she starved to death a couple of months later.