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Never doubt the power of petitions – they always have the potential to get the ball rolling on change, as a recent action by the Center for Biological Diversity proves.

The nonprofit has long fought for increased protections for the Pacific Northwest’s endangered orcas – known as the “Southern Resident” population (of which captive orca Lolita was once a member of, and will hopefully be again!). These whales live off the coast of Washington, Oregon, and California and were placed under Endangered Species Act protection in 2005.

Increasingly, Southern Resident orcas are threatened by human activity ranging from commercial fishing to dirty coal.

In an effort to keep the orcas away from extinction and to give them the chance to increase their population numbers, the Center for Biological Diversity sent a petition to the National Marine Fisheries Service in January 2014 asking for an expansion of protected habitat for Southern Resident orcas.

And guess what? The petition got the Fisheries Service’s attention! Hooray!

The agency recently announced that it will consider adding new critical protections for Southern Resident orcas.

“If finalized the new rule would extend Endangered Species Act protection to the whales’ winter foraging range off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California,” the Center for Biological Diversity reports.

What great news!

Fingers crossed that the Fisheries Service will seriously consider the petition’s suggestion and enact additional protections for Southern Resident orcas who so desperately need it.

As Sarah Uhlemann, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, stated, “Despite nearly a decade of federal protection, the Puget Sound’s orca population remains perilously small, hovering around only 80 animals.This proposal is an important step toward recovery and will help the whales stave off extinction.”

Join the Center for Biological Diversity in fighting for orca protection by writing to the National Marine Fisheries Service today!

Image Source: Ingrid Taylor/Flickr

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