The issue of mass extinction on our planet is not mere theory, it is happening right before us on a daily basis. Although there are several factors contributing to this sixth mass extinction, including habitat loss, pollution, climate change, and the consumption of animals, all the issues stem back to the destructive and careless habits of humans.

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The oceans are suffering irreversible effects as a result of humans’ negligence, and endangered species populations are dwindling at alarming rates. The Southern Resident Orca in particular, found in the waters between the San Juan Islands in Washington state and the Gulf Islands in British Columbia, is a critically endangered species with only 75 left in the wild after a young orca known as J52 passed away recently. (Lolita is the only known Southern Resident Orca in captivity.)

What is driving these beautiful, intelligent individuals to their untimely and unnecessary death? The diminishing Chinook salmon populations, which Southern Resident Orcas rely on to survive, are disappearing from the oceans due to habitat loss, pollution, and overfishing. The lack of food supplies causes an abnormally high rate of miscarriages for these whales, making it increasingly difficult for their low populations to rise. To learn more about the complicated relationship between salmon and orcas, visit here.

We must all act now to prevent the extinction of the Southern Resident Orca before it is too late. A petition on Care2 is calling on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to expand protected areas for these whales so they have a glimmer of hope to survive. Please take a moment to sign this petition to make the NOAA protect what is left of our precious oceans.

And please remember to share this with your network to increase awareness of this issue and inspire people to act on behalf of our planet.

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Image Source: Wikimedia Commons