The plane, which will carry about 10,000 passengers every year and be seen from the ground by countless others, will also come with information booklets tucked into the seats so that passengers can learn about the threats plaguing wild orcas. The pamphlets will include information about reducing toxins in the ocean, noise pollution, responsible whale watching, and, most importantly, how to help the recovery of chinook salmon, the local orca population's main food source.
The population, referred to as the Southern Resident Killer Whales, has had a hard time in recent decades. In the 1960s and ‘70s, about 50 whales were removed from the area for marine parks. The population was on the way to recovery - but contaminants, noise and lack of food have threatened to decimate it once again. Now, Hayes and Wild Orca hope that people will realize that many of the things they do, from eating unsustainable seafood to dumping harmful chemicals into waterways, can hurt the environment - and the orcas.