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Three Things You Should Know About Chinook Salmon, Key To Orca Survival

[] The Puget Sound region is home to three “resident” populations of orcas, so called because they spend “about half of the year foraging in inland waters,” according to a report from the University of Washington. These whales are the focus of an executive order signed by Governor Jay Inslee on March 14. It directs seven state agencies to take actions to protect orcas.

The whales survive largely on a single food source: Chinook salmon migrating from Northwest rivers. As Chinook populations have declined, orcas have struggled to find enough to eat.

Whales aren’t the only Chinook snackers. Bears, birds of prey, even seals, not to mention humans. Those animals consume other salmon species in addition to the Chinook, but orcas rely almost entirely on this single fish.

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