“The end of a species comes as tranquilly as this gentle sunrise. There’s no final struggle, no valorous last stand or terminal flourish. Just one final puff of breath, then mere absence. No creature mourns it own passing.”
— Carl Safina
The Center for Whale Research recently announced the death of three more Salish Sea orca, J17, 42-year-old matriarch of her family; K25, 28 year-old male, and; L84, a 29-year-old male. There are now just 73 remaining southern resident orca. They are all starving due to lack of chinook salmon. So, imagine my shock on seeing a front page article in the Whidbey News-Times titled “It’s a Fine Year for Fishing” accompanied by a smiling woman holding two beautiful chinook.
Aug. 8 was the 49th anniversary of the brutal, deadly Penn Cove Killer Whale capture led by Ted Johnson. The horror is captured in the film “Blackfish.” Tokitae, whom Sea Aquarium calls “Lolita,” has been held in solitary confinement in Miami, Fla. for 48 years.
Lolita is also the name of the main character of a book about child sex abuse and Jeffrey Epstein’s airplane, I have admired Ms. Stensland’s work for years, but her article mentions none of this, nor that Lummi Nation is threatening to sue if Tokitae is not allowed to return to her home and family. There is a sobering permanence to extinction of any species, but this icon of the Pacific Northwest?
Who will be next? We need to reflect deeply and take immediate action to restore the salmon. We can start by freeing the Snake River.