Not too long ago we introduced you to the false killer whale and the unique population that resides only around the Hawaiian Islands. We also pointed out the decline that this population has experienced over the last two decades and the various threats that are causing these whales to be endangered. Today the National Marine Fisheries Service issued a preliminary finding on our petition to list the Hawaiian false killer whale on the endangered species list and they agreed that a listing may be warranted.
Today’s decision triggers a review of the population and a final decision on the Hawaiian false killer whales’ status will be expected upon completion of that review – probably in about a year. However, this is an important first step in securing protections for this group of cetaceans that occupies a unique and biologically important part of the world. Additionally, since many of the factors that affect the Hawaiian false killer whale are likely to also affect other marine life in the area – such as direct and indirect impacts from fisheries and pollutant exposure – we consider today's decision a positive sign and a reflection of the administration’s dedication to protecting our oceans.
As I mentioned in my previous blog on this topic, the Hawaiian false killer whale is telling us its story, but its one that reflects the experience of other marine species in the central pacific: the Hawaiian archipelago is a biologically rich and unusual place that provides a kind of oasis for marine life. If they are to survive, the Hawaiian false killer whales would like us to help keep it that way – if only we’re listening.