The killer whale, Orcinus orca, is second only to humans as the most widely distributed mammal on earth. It ranges from the tropical seas through temperate ones to the edge of the pack ice at both poles. Yet it is only in the last quarter century that we have come to learn something about the nature of this remarkable animal.

Every piece of knowledge that we gain about the killer whale compels us to learn more and adds to our deepening respect for this remarkable animal. Yet just as we have entered this new era of compassion and understanding, we are threatening the whales in new, insidious ways. Pollution, overfishing, and industrialization are all having an impact on the whales’ habitat, and these pressures are increasing steadily.

Only through awareness, understanding and commitment, – both within the public and scientific communities, – can we succeed at preserving the whales’ habitat and their future.

from Killer Whales
John K.B. Ford, Graeme M. Ellis, and Kenneth C. Balcomb
The natural history and genealogy of Orcinus orca
in British Columbia and Washington State
UBC Press/Vancouver, University of Washington Press/Seattle