The NhRP has partnered with the Earth Law Center to secure rights for the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population. Located in the Salish Sea (the collective waters of the Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Strait of Georgia), the Southern Resident killer whale has suffered a steep decline in population since the 1990s and remains in jeopardy because of present and continuous threats from contaminants, prey availability, vessel traffic, and noise pollution.
Modeled in part on the sustainability rights ordinance passed by the City of Santa Monica in 2013, the Puget Sound Initiative seeks to protect the natural community of the Salish Sea by securing legal rights for the entire Puget Sound and the Southern Resident killer whale population. Granting rights to the ecosystem and its inhabitants will help further recovery efforts for the Southern Resident killer whale and ensure that the government upholds its duty to protect the population. With respect to the killer whales, the initiative will seek the codification of their many rights, including their right: (1) to life; (2) to autonomy; (3) to freedom of movement and residence within their natural environment; and (4) to the protection of their natural environment, to a habitat free of pollution and contamination, and adequate food supply.
Click here to learn more about this effort and sign a petition urging Washington officials to take necessary steps to protect the Southern Resident killer whale and to recognize their rights.