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The Puget Sound orcas live in three pods named J, K, and L. Members of L pod, Admiralty Inlet, Oct. 10, 2009.
(Tatiana Ivkovich / Shutterstock)
Article June 29, 2023

Puget Sound Orcas are Dying — Latest Sign of Nature’s Decline

The world’s top scientists warn that biodiversity is in a free fall. Puget Sound’s endangered resident orcas are just the latest victims of short-sighted human actions that are causing an ecological crisis.

A pod of southern resident orcas in Boundary Pass, north of San Juan Island, WA.
(Howard Garrett / Orca Network)
Article April 16, 2014

Campaign Heats Up To Free Lolita the Orca

Captured 40 years ago as an infant, the orca known as Lolita symbolizes the movement to free captive animals.

Article November 22, 2013

A Thanksgiving Flood of Salmon

More salmon have returned to the Elwha River over the past two months than at any time in at least 20 years.

feature September 9, 2013

Running on Empty: Fate of Salmon at Stake in Western Water Fight

Entire runs of salmon are losing out to a system of dams, pumps and diversions that take the flow of life from rivers along America’s West Coast.

Article August 16, 2013

Orcas Struggle For Survival Against Big Ag

Something special is swimming in Puget Sound—84 unique whales found nowhere else on earth, who might have disappeared altogether if not for Earthjustice’s work to protect them from a far-distant threat. Early this month, the government rejected a misguided proposal to strip protections from this dwindling species: Southern Resident orca whales. Visitors to the Pacific…

document August 2, 2013

NMFS Orca Decision

Press Release August 2, 2013

Fisheries Service Rejects Efforts to Strip Orcas of Endangered Species Protection

Puget Sound’s majestic Southern Residents targeted but prevail

Press Release January 28, 2013

136,000-plus Oppose Agribusiness Campaign to Strip Orcas of Federal Protection

Puget Sound’s southern resident orcas targeted

Article November 28, 2012

Resident Orcas Attacked By Anti-Environment Group

A far right anti-environmental group based in Sacramento, California is trying to get federal Endangered Species Act protections removed from a small extended west coast family group of killer whales. This group of killer whales, or orcas, is known as the southern residents because they spend much of their time residing in coastal waters between…

Article November 21, 2011

Stormy Waters: Earthjustice’s Patti Goldman on Orcas

This is the second in a series of Q and As on Earthjustice’s oceans work, which works to prevent habitat loss and overfishing as well as reduce the impacts of climate change on the ocean. In early 2000, Patti Goldman, Earthjustice’s VP of Litigation, spearheaded efforts to protect the Puget Sound’s threatened orca whale population.…

Press Release: Victory December 21, 2006

Industry Attempt to Strip Orca Protections Tossed by Federal Court

Judge denies standing to farm, development interests

Press Release: Victory November 28, 2006

Puget Sound Designated as Critical Habitat for Orcas; Recovery Plan Presented

Conservationists view designation and recovery plans as important steps toward revival of the orca population

Press Release November 16, 2005

Puget Sound Orcas Finally Protected Under the Endangered Species Act

Whales protected by court order over resistance from the Bush administration

Press Release December 16, 2004

Puget Sound Orcas Will Be Protected Under Endangered Species Act

Conservationists hail decision to protect orcas, demand Congress protect Endangered Species Act.

Press Release December 17, 2003

Puget Sound Orcas 'Significant'

Judge gives government a year to reconsider protecting resident orcas under the ESA

Press Release May 23, 2003

Motion for Summary Judgement Filed on Puget Sound Orcas

Conservationists fight determination that southern residents are “Not Significant”

Press Release May 9, 2003

Distressed Whales Highlight Potential Impacts of Exempting Military from Environmental Laws

Proposals would allow Navy ships to blast harmful sonar at will

Southern resident orca J16 makes rainbows while surfacing in Puget Sound. The southern resident orca population is protected under the Endangered Species Act. (Miles Ritter / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
case December 20, 2002

Protecting Puget Sound’s Orcas

Orcas are known for their intelligence, agility and playfulness. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the Pacific Northwest, where the resident orca pods attract tourists and scientists from around the world. As of 2014, this critically endangered population of killer whales has been reduced to only 80 individuals. These unique marine mammals have been…