Should we tag orcas to save them?

by Tim Flanagan on May 20, 2011

MEGHAN WALKER has this story at

For the past few months, here Ken Balcomb has been putting up posters on docks at marinas along the California coast, ambulance asking for orca-sighting reports.

It may seem archaic, online akin to a kid putting up a "lost cat" poster on a telephone pole. But Balcomb says it works.

But science may soon have a more up-to-date method: Shooting the killer whales with a dart that a satellite can track. The federal government is considering such a proposal.

Scientists, however, don’t agree on tagging. For some, tagging could help in understanding a beloved but endangered animal. For others, tagging would provide little value but do real harm to orcas.

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