Extinction is forever: The last of the orcas of Prince William Sound

Extinction is forever. Every time I mull over this thought, it brings into focus for me, more than ever, of our responsibilities as a species, of the succinct realization of our inter-relatedness and common fate with all other life forms inhabiting our shared ecosystem. My interest in orcas (Orcinus orca) go back a long time, lapping up accounts of their inherently amiable, extremely social disposition, swimming the oceans in tightly knit mother-centred families and extended families or pods, as they are called. Never had the good fortune of encountering one in person, but the closest I got was through the writings of marine biologist Eva Saulitis who spent long years intimately observing and comprehending the lives of a tiny, threatened orca population in the waters of a scenic inlet known as Prince William Sound in the Gulf of Alaska, Alaska, USA. Among other marine life forms in Prince Wiliam Sound, Saulitis spent the most time studying a genetically distinct orca ecotype known as the AT1 or ‘Chugach’ transients (transients being mammal eaters.) Read More…

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