January 31, 2018 1:28 am

Environmental groups call on Ottawa to save southern resident orcas with emergency order

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

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Save the whales: that’s what environmental groups across the country are asking the government to do.

A petition is on its way to Canada’s ministers of the environment and fisheries, calling for an emergency intervention to protect southern resident orcas in the Salish Sea.

READ MORE: Endangered whales are dying in Canadian waters. Here’s what you should know

There are only 76 of those orcas left, said Ecojustice lawyer Dyna Tuytel.

“The most urgent threats are lack of food, and also disturbance both in terms of noise and the physical presence of vessels,” Tuytel said.

READ MORE: ‘Hopefully he can reunite with his family’: 100 volunteers help guide beached whale into waters

The petition also calls on the government to restrict how much chinook salmon can be caught, to increase food for the endangered whales.

Tuytel said the ministers can issue an emergency order under the Species at Risk Act — the deadline to do that is listed in the petition as March 1.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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