The Obama administration has proposed listing the Hawaiian false killer whale as an endangered species—which if approved would make this only the fourth U.S. whale or dolphin population to appear on the endangered species list since 1970.
The Pseudorca crassidens, or Hawaiian false killer whale is the only one of their species to make their homes closer to land. This puts them in more danger of being wounded or killed, and according to NOAA’s analysis, there are 29 threats to their survival, which includes death and suffering from boats, fisheries & hooks, and toxic chemicals that may leach into the waters nearer to shore. Longline fleet fishing causes 7.4 false killer whale deaths each year—can you imagine?
Not only that, but of 150 remaining, only 46 are capable of breeding. Just like Humans, inbreeding causes genetic defects, and having such a low population increases those risks.
These playful, graceful creatures are large members of the dolphin family that can weigh up to 1 ton, breed and bond one-on-one for a recorded 20 years, and can live up to 60 years.
To see a video (or few) of a couple Hawaiian false killer whales via crittercam, check out this video here, courtesy of Cascadia Research Collective & the National Geographic Crittercam.
The National Marine Fisheries Service has one year from the proposal date to make their decision to make the Hawaiian false killer whale a federally protected endangered species.
Photo credit: Protected Resouces Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, La Jolla, California