Samish Nation member Leslie Eastwood, center, raises her arms with others at Deception Pass Park’s Bowman Bay on Sunday after completing a love song performed for those gathering for a vigil to remember the dead baby orca and her mother, Tahlequah, as well as the plight of other orcas. The Samish Nation hosted the two-day event, where food, song and dance were part of an ongoing ceremony. (Ken Lambert / Seattle Times)Scores of local residents condemned the federal agency in charge of protecting local killer whales in two packed public meetings over the weekend, highlighting growing frustration after the deaths of three of the animals this summer.
The endangered southern resident killer whales, of which just 74 remain, aren’t getting the help they need from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, speakers said at a Saturday meeting in Friday Harbor and another the following day in Seattle. The agency has also not been transparent in its efforts to bring the mammals back from the brink of extinction, they added.