A 3-pod group of about 75 resident Killer Whales are at great risk as local food stocks decline (i.e. salmon, etc), marine noise (including that from tourist boats watching whales), chemical contamination (the most contaminated marine mammals in the world), and general habitat degradation. These live and cruise close to the west coast of Washington State and the lower British Columbia mainland, and are known as the Southern Resident Orca Population.
The U.S. government has rated this population as endangered, and has implemented some tough rules and regulations to assist with the survival of this Orca population. There is considerable local support towards their well-being, as well.
The resident population is defined as the population that remains in the area, as described, year-round, as opposed to the ocean-ranging pods that travel up and down in the open sea of the Pacific Ocean, from far north to far south. There are four ‘resident’ populations identified in various areas.
This population has been the centre of considerable media attention recently.