14 September 2018 (VANCOUVER) – In response to the apparent death of J50, a Southern Resident orca Greenpeace Canada spokesperson Mike Hudema said:

“It’s heartbreaking to learn of the death of another Southern Resident orca. J50, Scarlet, was known for her love of breaching and belly flops and it is with a heavy heart that we mourn her loss. With just 74 southern resident orcas left we need immediate action from the federal government to protect this endangered species. Prime Minister Trudeau can no longer wait, or add more threats. Orcas deserve action, and they deserve it now.”

The Southern Resident orca, are endangered and their already threatened existence is increasingly threatened by the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and the associated increase in tar sands tanker traffic. Not only would an oil spill contaminate the waters in which orcas live, but it would threaten the salmon population they depend on for sustenance. Malnutrition and starvation are significant reasons that the Southern Residents are endangered. This problem is exacerbated by high levels of ship noise, which can interfere with orcas’ communication and echolocation, which they use to hunt for food. An oil spill, and the additional impacts from the seven-fold increase in tar sands tanker traffic, could mean extinction for these orcas.

Following a challenge by Indigenous Nations and environmental groups, a Federal Court ruled that the government failed to properly consult with First Nations on the Trans Mountain Expansion project and failed to properly consider the impacts of increased tanker traffic due to the project — including the impacts on the endangered Southern Resident orca.

Prime Minister Trudeau continues to push the project despite endangered species protection being a federal responsibility. Greenpeace Canada is calling on the federal government to drop plans for the pipeline shift the billions it has invested in the project into Canada’s renewable energy economy.

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For more information:

Mike Hudema, pipelines campaigner at Greenpeace Canada, based in Vancouver, who is available for interviews. Contact: mhudema@greenpeace.org; 1-780-504-5601.

Steve Cornwell, communication officer at Greenpeace Canada. Contact: steve.cornwell@greenpeace.org; 1-514-418-0071.