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US provides habitat protection to 72 remaining orcas off of Calif. coast

The whales have in recent years been at their lowest numbers since the 1970s.

Posted: Jul 31, 2021 6:06 PM
Updated: Jul 31, 2021 7:52 PM

SEATTLE (AP) - Endangered killer whales have received new habitat protections from the U.S. government.

The National Marine Fisheries Service on Friday finalized rules to expand the Southern Resident orca’s critical habitat from the Canadian border down to Point Sur, California, adding 15,910 square miles (41,207 square kilometers) of foraging areas, river mouths and migratory pathways.

While environmentalists praised the action, many also called for habitat protections for salmon to aid in the orca’s recovery.

There are currently 75 southern resident orca whales in the three resident J, K and L pods. The whales have in recent years been at their lowest numbers since the 1970s.

(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press)

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