WCP and WPL Monitoring Programs

A killer is someone who does an exceptional or superb job, in terms of output (usually measured in numbers), in any endeavor. The word “killer” was first used in 1833 by Scottish surgeon Dr. Barrack MacQueen. According to the dictionary, a killer is “a malevolent or malicious character, one whose action or achievements exhibit an abnormality of disposition which suggests the presence of pathological disposition”. When we kill other human beings, we are designated as killers. Even when we only commit criminal acts, we are branded as killers.


In this paper, we argue that the concept of a killer whale reserve should be expanded to take into account both males and females, as indicated by the frequency with which the term is used, and in turn, to take into account the impact of human interaction on their population size and potential for future growth. We further suggest that such expansion should take into account changes in the composition of the killer whale population as a result of human encroachment, and implications for future growth as human populations grow and interact with the whales. Finally, we suggest providing a framework for assessing the conservation status of a particular killer whale population.

In this paper, we will specifically consider three such populations: Endangered Killer Whales, Hypocephalian Harbor and WPL-Wolves. We argue that each population is uniquely vulnerable to multiple human activities, which are having profound negative impacts on individual species and each population as a whole. The primary threats to each population are described as (a) habitat encroachment (b) loss of current habitat and (c) disruption and control of migration. We also note that threatened species are often considered to be in the critically endangered status if the probability of recovery after a given amount of time has been exhausted is less than 20%.

We focus our attention on two of the most imperiled oceans-those of the Southern California Current and the West Pacific warm waters. Although both areas contain many taxonomic and migratory species, we focus on the Southern California Current, where we find two distinct marine biological communities: the Hypocephalian Harbor population and the WPL Wolves. The Southern California Current has experienced significant declines in the number and quality of fish stocks, while the WPL-Wolves historically have served as a significant element in the food chain of this system.

There are multiple threats to these populations, including severe impacts from fishing, entanglement of nets in their habitats, disruption of their migration routes, collisions with commercial vessels, bonehead whales, and pods of seals. Our analyses indicate that these and other factors, combined with reduced reproductive capacity and numbers of breeding adults, threaten the sustainability of the Southern California Current and the West Coast Salmon populations. Our analyses also indicate that these threats are likely to be more pronounced and extensive in the future. Given these circumstances, we conclude that it is urgent for management actions to be taken to protect both whales and their ocean home, the population of California Salmon.

WCP is an acronym for Whales Commonly Called Killer, and a WPL is a term for wolves (wolves are WOLF). This research was completed in collaboration with scientists at the Marine Science Institute in San Francisco, California, using data gathered from studies of the Oregon and Washington coasts, and the National Marine Fisheries Service in Washington, D. C. The whale populations are threatened by loss of habitat use and increasing population densities due to intensive fisheries efforts. While the primary target of WCP and WPL activities are cetaceans, it is anticipated that killer whales will experience additional stresses due to increasing human activities in the area. Management actions currently underway to save the California salmon and its ocean habitat have worked so far, but additional action is needed to deal with what we know about the future of the whales and their home waters. We are calling on all members of the public and policy makers to support WCP and WPL monitoring programs to ensure these unique ocean mammals can survive and thrive in the present and into the future. If you would like to learn more about Killer Whale conservation, please visit our website.