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Dramatic Marine Mammal Population Changes

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Credit: Lance Barrett-Lennard
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Credit: Lance Barrett-Lennard
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Credit: Lance Barrett-Lennard
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Credit: Lance Barrett-Lennard
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Credit: Lance Barrett-Lennard

Threats To Wild Killer Whales

Populations of whales, dolphins and porpoise off the coast British Columbia have experienced dramatic changes since industrial humans expanded here in the 1800s. Whaling had a significant impact on killer whales. These factors are the main reason killer whales in B.C. are now at risk for extinction, while current and emerging threats have an even more harmful impact on these species. These threats include food supply, toxins, entanglement, depredation, noise, collisions with vessels, boat disturbances and continued whaling.

Killer Whales Credit: Lance Barrett-Lennard
Whale Credit: Lance Barrett-Lennard

Endangered Marine
Mammals In B.C

Of the 23 species of whales, dolphins, porpoises in B.C. waters, 12 are listed under the Species at Risk Act as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern. Furthermore, all cetacean are subjected to pressures from other threats to marine mammals and to their marine habitat. We have created several conservation and research programs to assist these threatened species, which include the Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program, Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, Ocean Wise™, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network.

Recovery Planning
For The Future

Many of the Vancouver Aquarium's programs on are in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). For the populations of killer whales that have been listed as endangered or threatened under the Canadian Species at Risk Act, the DFO has been a key player in creating recovery strategies and action plans. These can be downloaded here:

Killer Whales - Northern And Southern Resident Populations
Killer Whales - Transient Population

Other recovery strategies, action plans and management plans are currently in progress for humpback whales, Northern Pacific right whales, grey whales and offshore killer whales.

Dolphins Credit: Lance Barrett-Lennard
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