The diversity and complexity of marine life in the coastal waters off British Columbia and Washington is truly extraordinary.

It is a fragile world. Pollution, global climate change and other impacts are taking their toll at all levels of the coastal food web. Many species of marine wildlife, such as the endangered Southern Resident killer whales, are showing signs of vulnerability.

Meanwhile, vessel traffic in our waters is steadily increasing, placing added pressures on marine animals and their habitats.

Disturbance is when we interfere with an animal’s ability to hunt, feed, communicate, socialize, rest, breed, or care for its young. These are critical processes, necessary for healthy marine wildlife populations.

These guidelines are designed to help you enjoy your wildlife encounter, and reduce the risk of disturbing marine wildlife.

You can help whales, and other wildlife, by basic environmentally friendly practices, such as reducing your carbon footprint by driving less, taking public transport, or exploring alternative energy. You can also help by learning about your local ecosystem and watershed. Do you know where your storm water goes? It might flow straight into Puget Sound, so you don’t want to pour hazardous things down the drain, such as soaps, oils, paint, and fertilizers. You can also learn about positive water management and rain gardens.

For more information visit, https://whalemuseum.org/pages/how-to-help-the-orcas