Saturday, May 02, 2009

Global May Day!

Raw feed from AP from various May Day activities around the world in 2009.

Dead Birds on Bay Area Beaches

Hundreds of dead birds on Bay Area beaches
Jane Kay, Chronicle Environment Writer

(05-01) 16:30 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Hundreds of emaciated seabirds have washed up dead on beaches from Marin County to Monterey Bay, and wildlife officials said they suspect that a dip in the birds' food supply may be killing them.

The black, iridescent Brandt's cormorants began dying in mid-April, puzzling scientists who have seen the species thrive in recent years on the Farallon, Alcatraz and Año Nuevo islands.

Dead birds have been found in more than a dozen locations in the Bay Area, including Ocean and Baker beaches in San Francisco; Montara and Pescadero beaches on the San Mateo County coast; Rodeo and Muir beaches in Marin County; and on the new east span of the Bay Bridge in Oakland.

Biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state Department of Fish and Game are asking beachgoers not to move dead birds. Volunteers from the Gulf of the Farallones and the Monterey Bay national marine sanctuaries are marking dead birds by clipping their wings or toes to help get a valid bird count.

About three dozen of the surviving cormorants have been sent to the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Cordelia, along with some western grebes. Ten birds have been released to the wild.

'Emaciated and starving'

"Most of the birds brought in are emaciated and starving," said Gerry McChesney, acting manager of the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. "They are having trouble finding food and are responding well to feeding."

Seabird experts believe that the birds are suffering from a lack of food as ocean conditions have changed, triggering a crash in anchovy numbers in 2008. The birds, which had reached their highest numbers in years on the Central California coast, don't appear to be ailing from viruses and bacteria, they say. Results of tests are expected Monday.

The Brandt's cormorant population reached about 40,000 in the region in 2007, according to scientists. But the birds didn't reproduce in normal numbers in 2008.

"Usually by now, the breeding colonies are well along," said McChesney. "The birds should be into the egg-laying period. But the colonies are almost empty. The birds don't seem to be around in very high numbers, and the birds that are around have been starving to death."

Ocean conditions are generally good this year with vigorous upwelling of the nutrients that feed plankton and the small fish on which the seabirds feed. They like rockfish, flatfish and anchovies.

Last year, some species of small fish were scarce, according to trawl information gathered by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Northern anchovies - popular food for Brandt's cormorants - hit their lowest numbers since 1990 as the bulk of the fish moved to Southern California, where they normally spawn in years of cooler waters.

Steve Ralston, research fisheries biologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Southwest Fisheries Science Center in Santa Cruz, said it took 10 trawls to catch one anchovy last year.

In a typical year, more than 600 anchovies are caught in a trawl, he said.

"The ocean can wax and wane between warmer and cooler states, and when it's warmer, anchovies and sardines are more plentiful in our survey. Some of the cooler species, like calamari squid and juvenile rockfish, are less abundant," Ralston said.

Bird and fish populations are closely linked, Ralston said.

Because young rockfish were scarcer in the ocean during the warmer years of 2005, 2006 and 2007, species such as seabirds and humpback whales may have switched to anchovies, said biologist Bill Sydeman, director of the Farallon Institute of Advanced Ecosystem Research in Petaluma.

When anchovy numbers dropped around the Farallones last year, the birds may have been unable to find food, which would have triggered reproductive failures of the Brandt's cormorants, Sydeman said.

Other possibilities

There could be other reasons, such as their population reaching the maximum number that the ecosystem can support, he said. Or perhaps more cormorants are being found dead because there are more of them, he said.

Jan Roletto, research coordinator for the Gulf of the Farallones sanctuary, said the disappearance of anchovies is a valid explanation. But as she waits for results of pathogen tests, she is looking at other environmental factors.

"We're just speculating right now," she said.

Some Bay Area beaches and shoreline areas where dead birds have washed up:

San Francisco
Baker Beach, Lands End, Ocean Beach, Alcatraz Island
San Mateo County
Montara State Beach, Half Moon Bay, Pescadero State Beach
Marin County
Muir Beach, Rodeo Beach, Kirby Cove, Point Reyes
Bay Bridge (new span)

E-mail Jane Kay at

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Israel Boycott is Biting

The Israel Boycott is Biting
by Nadia Hijab

On May 4, protesters will greet Motorola shareholders, already disgruntled by the company’s losses, as they arrive for their annual meeting at the Rosemont Theater in Chicago, Illinois.

The protest, organized by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, is part of a drive to “Hang Up On Motorola” until it ends sales of communications and other products that support Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian land.

Inside the meeting, the Presbyterian, United Methodist and other churches will urge shareholders to support their resolution, which calls for corporate standards grounded in international law. Doing the right thing could also reduce the risk of “consumer boycotts, divestment campaigns and lawsuits.”

Although Motorola executives deny it, such risks must have played a part in their decision to sell the department making bomb fuses shortly after Human Rights Watch teams found shrapnel with Motorola serial numbers at some of the civilian sites bombed by Israel in its December-January assault on Gaza.

The US protests are part of a growing global movement that has taken international law into its own hands because governments have not. And, especially since the attacks on Gaza, the boycotts have been biting. There are three reasons why.

First, boycotts enable ordinary citizens to take direct action. For instance, the New York group Adalah decided to target diamond merchant Lev Leviev, whose profits are plowed into colonizing the West Bank. During the Christmas season, they sing carols with the words creatively altered to urge shoppers to boycott his Madison Avenue store.

The British group Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine teamed up with Adalah NY and others to exert public pressure on the British government regarding Leviev. The British Embassy in Tel Aviv recently cancelled plans to rent premises from Leviev’s company Africa-Israel.

There are other results. Activists in Britain have targeted the supermarket chain Tesco to stop the sales of Israeli goods produced in settlements. In a video of one such action -- over 38,000 YouTube views to date -- Welsh activists load up a trolley with settlement products and push it out of the shop without paying.

All the while, they calmly explain to the camera just what they are doing and why. They talk away as they pour red paint over the produce, and as British Bobbies quietly lead them away to a police van.

The result of such consumer boycotts? A fifth of Israeli producers have reported a drop in demand since the assault on Gaza, particularly in Britain and Scandinavia.

The second reason boycotts are more effective is the visible role of Jewish human rights advocates, making it harder for Israel to argue that these actions are anti-Semitic.

For example, British architect Abe Hayeem, an Iraqi Jew, describes in a passionate column in The Guardian exactly how Leviev tramples on Palestinian rights, and warns Israeli architects involved in settlements that they will be held to account by their international peers.

In the United States, Jewish Voice for Peace has led an ongoing campaign to stop Caterpillar from selling bulldozers to Israel, which militarizes them and uses them in home demolitions and building the separation wall.

The third, key, reason for the growing success of this global movement is the determined leadership of Palestinian civil society. The spark was lit at the world conference against racism in Durban in 2001. In 2004, Palestinian civil society launched an academic and cultural boycott that is having an impact.

In 2005, over 170 Palestinian civil society coalitions, organizations, and unions, from the occupied territories, within Israel, and in exile issued a formal call for an international campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) until Israel abides by international law. The call sets out clear goals for the movement and provides a framework for action.

In November 2008, Palestinian NGOs helped convene an international BDS conference in Bilbao, Spain, to adopt common actions. This launched a “Derail Veolia” campaign. That French multinational corporation, together with another French company, Alstom, is building a light railway linking East Jerusalem to illegal settlements.

The light rail project was cited by the Swedish national pension fund in its decision to exclude Alstom from its $15 billion portfolio, and by the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council in its decision not to consider further Veolia's bid for a $1.9 billion waste improvement plan. There were active grassroots campaigns in both areas.

Other hits: Veolia lost the contract to operate the city of Stockholm subway and an urban network in Bordeaux. Although these were reportedly “business decisions” there were also activist campaigns in both places. The Galway city council in Ireland decided to follow Stockholm’s example. Meanwhile, Connex, the company that is supposed to operate the light rail, is being targeted by activists in Australia.

The “Derail Veolia” campaign has been the movement’s biggest success to date. Veolia and its subsidiaries are estimated to have lost as much as $7.5 billion.

As one of the BDS movement leaders, Omar Barghouti, put it, “When companies start to lose money, then they listen.” Perhaps governments will too.

Nadia Hijab is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies in Washington D.C.

Copyright © 2009 Nadia Hijab – distributed by Agence Global

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pinter's Dispatch to Obama

From Bunker Hill to Baghdad: Pinter's Dispatch to Obama
by Mike Whitney

Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see
the blood in the streets.
Come and see the blood
in the streets!

Poem by Pablo Neruda

About a month before Barack Obama announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski appeared on PBS's Charlie Rose Show and was asked whether he thought Obama would be a good choice for president. Brzezinski paused for a minute, peered at Rose out of the corner of his eye, and answered, "Just think of the symbolism." As soon as he said that, Brzezinski and Rose broke out into laughter as though they were sharing a private joke.

Brzezinski was right, of course. Obama was the perfect choice for president. Not because of his experience. He had none. He was a two year senator with a resume' small enough to fit on the back of a matchbox. Still Obama had what Brzezinski and Co. were looking for, symbolism; the kind of symbolism that connected him to people around the world and made them feel like one of their own had finally clawed their way to the top. Even better, Obama was a charismatic populist who could fill stadiums with adoring fans and put a benign face on America's interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. What more could Brzezinski hope for? After 8 years of dragging "Brand America" through the mud, the country would finally get the emergency facelift it needed and begin to restore its battered image as the world's indispensable nation.

For leftists, Obama has been a total bust. He's escalated the war in Afghanistan, increased the cross-border bombings of Pakistan, hemmed and hawed about prosecuting war crimes, refused to actively lobby House members to make it easier for workers to organize (EFCA), and surrounded himself with bank industry reps who've committed $12.8 trillion to sinking financial institutions with no assurance that the money would be repaid. Apart from a trifling bill on stem cells, Obama has done absolutely zero to confirm his bone fides as a liberal. The truth is, Obama is neither liberal nor conservative; he's simply an inspiring orator and a skillful politician who has no strong convictions about anything. If he achieves greatness, it will be because he was thrust into a crisis he couldn't avoid and reluctantly acted in the best interests of the American people. That possibility still exists, although it seems more unlikely by the day.

Foreign leaders are clearly relieved to see the last of George W. Bush, and they appear to be willing to give Obama every opportunity to mend fences and break with the past. But Obama has made little effort to reciprocate or show that he's serious about real change. The emphasis seems to be more on public relations than policy; more on glitzy photo ops, grandiose speeches and gadding about from one capital to another, than ending the chronic US meddling and militarism. Where's the beef or is it all just empty posturing?

No one's ready to write-off Obama just yet, but he needs to show he's the real-deal by taking steps to ratchet-down the war machine and reign in the corporate elites and bank vermin. But is it really possible for one man--however well-meaning--to change the course of a nation by standing up the gaggle of racketeers who pull the strings from behind the curtain? Keep in mind, America's history of violent interventions, unprovoked wars, color-coded revolutions and coup d' etats has a long pedigree that stretches from Bunker Hill to Baghdad. That river of blood did not begin with George Bush and it won't end with Barack Obama. Every generation has produced its own litany of crimes, from Wounded Knee to Nagasaki to My Lai to Falluja. In Harold Pinter's Nobel acceptance speech, the playwright invokes one such incident which epitomizes the pattern of hostility which has been repeated over and over again wherever the Washington mandarins detect opposition to their iron-fisted rule.

Harold Pinter, Nobel Acceptance Speech:

"The United States supported the brutal Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua for over 40 years. The Nicaraguan people, led by the Sandinistas, overthrew this regime in 1979, a breathtaking popular revolution.

The Sandinistas weren't perfect. They possessed their fair share of arrogance and their political philosophy contained a number of contradictory elements. But they were intelligent, rational and civilized. They set out to establish a stable, decent, pluralistic society. The death penalty was abolished. Hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken peasants were brought back from the dead. Over 100,000 families were given title to land. Two thousand schools were built. A quite remarkable literacy campaign reduced illiteracy in the country to less than one seventh. Free education was established and a free health service. Infant mortality was reduced by a third. Polio was eradicated.

The United States denounced these achievements as Marxist/Leninist subversion. In the view of the US government, a dangerous example was being set. If Nicaragua was allowed to establish basic norms of social and economic justice, if it was allowed to raise the standards of health care and education and achieve social unity and national self respect, neighboring countries would ask the same questions and do the same things. There was of course at the time fierce resistance to the status quo in El Salvador.

I spoke earlier about 'a tapestry of lies' which surrounds us. President Reagan commonly described Nicaragua as a 'totalitarian dungeon'. This was taken generally by the media, and certainly by the British government, as accurate and fair comment. But there was in fact no record of death squads under the Sandinista government. There was no record of torture. There was no record of systematic or official military brutality. No priests were ever murdered in Nicaragua. There were in fact three priests in the government, two Jesuits and a Maryknoll missionary. The totalitarian dungeons were actually next door, in El Salvador and Guatemala. The United States had brought down the democratically elected government of Guatemala in 1954 and it is estimated that over 200,000 people had been victims of successive military dictatorships.

Six of the most distinguished Jesuits in the world were viciously murdered at the Central American University in San Salvador in 1989 by a battalion of the Alcatl regiment trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA. That extremely brave man Archbishop Romero was assassinated while saying mass. It is estimated that 75,000 people died. Why were they killed? They were killed because they believed a better life was possible and should be achieved. That belief immediately qualified them as communists. They died because they dared to question the status quo, the endless plateau of poverty, disease, degradation and oppression, which had been their birthright.

The United States finally brought down the Sandinista government. It took some years and considerable resistance but relentless economic persecution and 30,000 dead finally undermined the spirit of the Nicaraguan people. They were exhausted and poverty stricken once again. The casinos moved back into the country. Free health and free education were over. Big business returned with a vengeance. 'Democracy' had prevailed.

But this 'policy' was by no means restricted to Central America. It was conducted throughout the world. It was never-ending. And it is as if it never happened.

The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.

Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn't know it."

Pinter's speech is a somber indictment of US foreign policy; a policy which is now cloaked behind the rock-star facade of Barack Obama. Nothing has changed and, perhaps, nothing will change. The same barbarous campaign that thrived under Bush has been passed along to Obama intact. Wherever there is resistance to US ambitions; there lies the enemy. Whether its Marxists in Bogota, nationalists in Kosovo, Bolivarians in Caracas, Shia militias in Beirut, Islamic moderates in Mogadishu or Quakers in Toledo. They're all enemies, every one of them, and they need to be dealt with.

Obama is no fool; he knows he's being used. He knows he wasn't chosen for his enlightened views on health care and stem cells. He was picked because the men in charge needed a new posterboy to hide behind while they carry out their illicit activities. Obama is not so much of a Commander in chief as he is master illusionist, diverting attention from the stealth war that goes on relentlessly with or without his consent. Here's Pinter again:

"The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis...It's a scintillating stratagem."

Consider how the news was shaped to make it look like the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were carried out for altruistic reasons. Thus, the war in Afghanistan became "Operation Enduring Freedom", stressing the selfless generosity of bombing a country into oblivion and reinstating the thuggish warlords to power. The same strategy was used for the invasion of Iraq which was celebrated as "liberation from a brutal dictator." Liberation which cost the lives of over 1 million Iraqis and the displacement of 4 million more. Still, no one in the UN or so called international community has pressed for removing the US from the Security Council or prosecuting its leaders for war crimes. It's a testimony to the success of the US media in upholding the "tapestry of lies" of which Pinter speaks. Under Obama, the charade has only gotten worse. The coverage of the war has stopped entirely. War? What war? What matters now is Obama's cheery banter with Jay Leno, or Michelle's well-proportioned arms or Malia's adorable Portuguese Waterdog. America is whole again. Let the killing resume.

Pinter: "What has happened to our moral sensibility? Did we ever have any? What do these words mean? Do they refer to a term very rarely employed these days - conscience? A conscience to do not only with our own acts but to do with our shared responsibility in the acts of others? Is all this dead? Look at Guantanamo Bay. Hundreds of people detained without charge for over three years, with no legal representation or due process, technically detained forever. This totally illegitimate structure is maintained in defiance of the Geneva Convention. It is not only tolerated but hardly thought about by what's called the 'international community'. This criminal outrage is being committed by a country, which declares itself to be 'the leader of the free world'. Do we think about the inhabitants of Guantanamo Bay? What does the media say about them? They pop up occasionally - a small item on page six. They have been consigned to a no man's land from which indeed they may never return. At present many are on hunger strike, being force-fed, including British residents. No niceties in these force-feeding procedures. No sedative or anesthetic. Just a tube stuck up your nose and into your throat. You vomit blood. This is torture. What has the British Foreign Secretary said about this? Nothing. What has the British Prime Minister said about this? Nothing. Why not? Because the United States has said: to criticize our conduct in Guantanamo Bay constitutes an unfriendly act. You're either with us or against us."

Obama doesn't need to solve the world's problems. He doesn't have to reverse global warming or slow peak oil, cure AIDS or end world hunger. All he needs to do is meet the minimal requirement of his job as president, which is to deliver justice to his people. That's why the prosecution of Bush for war crimes is more important than any other issue on the docket. Justice precedes everything; it's the thread that keeps the social fabric stitched together. Justice for the victims who were killed in their homes with their families while they were sleeping or eating dinner. Justice for the people who were bombed in wedding parties or going to work or at the mosque praying to God. That's what people want from Obama. Justice, nothing more. The Reverend Martin Luther King said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." It's up to Obama follow that arc and take at least one step on the path of legitimacy, accountability and justice.

Pinter: "How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice."

It's highly unlikely that a black man with a background in community organizing really believes that expanding the war in Afghanistan is the right thing to do. Nor is it likely that he supports wiretapping, the crackdown on immigrants, penalizing sellers of medical marijuana, trillion dollar bank bailouts or "enhanced" interrogation. He is merely reading from the script that he has been given. But as the economic crisis deepens and the country becomes more radicalized and politically unstable, that script will have to be tossed aside. Obama will have plenty of opportunities to shrug off his handlers and show what he's really made of. Perhaps he is great man after all.

Pinter: "When we look into a mirror, we think the image that confronts us is accurate. But move a millimeter and the image changes. We are actually looking at a never-ending range of reflections. But sometimes a writer has to smash the mirror - for it is on the other side of that mirror that the truth stares at us."

Go ahead, Barack. Smash the mirror.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Startling Effects of Going Vegetarian for Just One Day

The Startling Effects of Going Vegetarian for Just One Day

By Kathy Freston, Huffington Post. Posted April 2, 2009.

I've written extensively on the consequences of eating meat -- on our health, our sense of "right living", and on the environment. It is one of those daily practices that has such a broad and deep effect that I think it merits looking at over and over again, from all the different perspectives. Sometimes, solutions to the world's biggest problems are right in front of us. The following statistics are eye-opening, to say the least.

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save:

● 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;

● 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year;

● 70 million gallons of gas -- enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare;

● 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware;

● 33 tons of antibiotics.

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent:

● Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France;

● 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages;

● 4.5 million tons of animal excrement;

● Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant.

My favorite statistic is this: According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads. See how easy it is to make an impact?

Other points:

Globally, we feed 756 million tons of grain to farmed animals. As Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer notes in his new book, if we fed that grain to the 1.4 billion people who are living in abject poverty, each of them would be provided more than half a ton of grain, or about 3 pounds of grain/day -- that's twice the grain they would need to survive. And that doesn't even include the 225 million tons of soy that are produced every year, almost all of which is fed to farmed animals. He writes, "The world is not running out of food. The problem is that we -- the relatively affluent -- have found a way to consume four or five times as much food as would be possible, if we were to eat the crops we grow directly."

A recent United Nations report titled Livestock's Long Shadow concluded that the meat industry causes almost 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world's transportation systems -- that's all the cars, trucks, SUVs, planes and ships in the world combined. The report also concluded that factory farming is one of the biggest contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every level -- local and global.

Researchers at the University of Chicago concluded that switching from standard American diet to a vegan diet is more effective in the fight against global warming than switching from a standard American car to a hybrid.

In its report, the U.N. found that the meat industry causes local and global environmental problems even beyond global warming. It said that the meat industry should be a main focus in every discussion of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortages and pollution, and loss of biodiversity.

Unattributed statistics were calculated from scientific reports by Noam Mohr, a physicist with the New York University Polytechnic Institute.

Air Force One Buzzes NYC

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Protections Ordered for B.C. Orca

Orca Pods Protected
by Jeff Nagel - Surrey North Delta Leader

A new federal government order to protect critical killer whale habitat off B.C.’s coast is being hailed as a major victory by environmental groups.

Killer whales have been given more protection along the B.C. coast under a new federal ruling.

A new federal government order to protect critical killer whale habitat off B.C.’s coast is being hailed as a major victory by environmental groups.

Until now, Ottawa had been reluctant to regulate orca protection under Canada’s Species At Risk Act – it instead argued the whales’ habitat was adequately protected under existing laws and regulations.

But that has changed after a coalition of groups, led by Ecojustice, went to court alleging the government shirked its duties under the act.

“It’s the very first time the federal government has issued an order protecting critical habitat,” said Ecojustice staff lawyer Lara Tessaro.

The area defined as critical habitat for southern resident killer whales covers much of the Strait of Georgia off the Lower Mainland, running through the Gulf Islands and up the east coast of Vancouver Island.

Much now depends on what specific measures the federal government sets out to prevent the destruction of the defined orca habitat.

If environmentalists get their way, it could mean much more stringent regulations governing toxic contamination, boat traffic and perhaps even the allocation of salmon stocks.

They cite findings that noise disturbances such as those from seismic testing, submarine sonar and even surface vessels can seriously impact killer whales.

Tessaro said shipping lanes could be designated within the affected waters – as was done on the east coast to protect right whales.

“There’s no reason in theory that British Columbia cannot do the same.”

And she suggested the measures may require a hard look at whale watching tour boats.

“There are a vast array of activities in Georgia Strait that pose a threat to whales,” Tessaro said.

“Whale watching vessels cause whales to use their energy very differently. They have to expend twice the energy to get where they’re going if they’re being blocked.”

Tessaro also hopes the order means accelerated timetables to build improved plants to treat sewage from Metro Vancouver and Victoria.

“To give this order teeth, DFO must keep killer whales’ critical habitat free of tanker traffic and the risk of catastrophic oil spills,” added Will Horter of Dogwood Initiative.

Fears for the southern resident killer whales hit a new high over the past year following the discovery seven adults and calfs of the group had died recently reducing their numbers to about 85.

Scientists had pointed to signs of malnourishment, perhaps as a result of dwindling salmon stocks in recent years.

But good news arrived last week when two newborn killer whales were spotted.