Wild orcas need all the protections they can get to survive, and conservationists are scrambling to help them out.
The National Marine Fisheries Service announced this week that it's considering whether to expand the protected area for the Southern Resident Killer Whale population, a group of orcas off the Northwest coast of the U.S. that's been dwindling in recent years.
Already protected in a 2,560 square-mile swath of ocean off the shores of Washington State, the orcas could get protection along the coasts of Oregon and California as well. The proposed additions stretch as far south as Point Reyes near Sacramento. The protected area designation requires that federal officials limit activities that could harm the whales, like the use of sonar and commercial shipping.