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Washington State Marine Mammal

Orca

Washngton Marine Animal Orca

(Orcinus orca)

Adopted on June 24, 2005.

The Orca whale, (Orcinus orca,) is now the state marine mammal of Washington thanks to the efforts of a group of students from Crescent Harbor Elementary School. It was adopted on June 24, 2005. What started as a school project in Oak Harbor grew to leviathan proportion this week when Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a bill making the orca Washington's official marine mammal. The signing ceremony capped a two-year project for a group of students at Crescent Harbor Elementary School in Oak Harbor.

Washington Marine Mammal: Orca

Washngton Marine Animal Orca

The killer whale's scientific name Orcinus orca is derived from the Latin word orcas, meaning "cask"or "barrel,"referring to the animal's broad, rounded shape. Unlike most dolphins, male and female killer whales exhibit considerable differences in size and appearance. Adult males, known as bulls, can reach up to 9.8 m (32 ft) in length and weigh over 5,500 kg (12,100 lb). Adult females, known as cows, are smaller, growing to 8.5 m (28 ft) in length and weighing as much as 3,800 kg (8,400 lb).

The orca, or "killer," whale is the largest member of the dolphin family. The Orca is a well-known cetacean, made famous by captivity shows. It has a striking skin combination: the primary color is black, but there is the addition of a grey 'saddle' behind the dorsal, and a brilliant white that covers three areas. Working back from the head, the first of these is the almost elliptical patch behind each eye. The second is on the underside of the jaw, extending back along the throat and belly to the flanks and vent area, where it forms a shape similar to the three prongs of a fork, two reaching up along the flanks while the third covers the vent area. The undersides of the tail flukes are also white. In some regions of the world the primary color, black, is more of a dark grey. In males, the dorsal fin can reach up to 1.8m in height, and reaches straight up into the air, shaped rather like a triangle. In females the fin is smaller, about half the size, and more curved. The head is rounded, with an indistinct beak, inside of which are 10-12 pairs of large teeth in both the upper and lower jaws. This stocky species reaches a maximum length of 9.75m for males and 8.53m for females. The maximum body weights are 10.5 tons and 7.4 tons respectively.

Known as the 'Wolves of the Sea', Orcas are fearsome predators. They have the most varied diet of all cetaceans, and can tackle prey of all shapes and sizes. Their co-ordinate hunting strategies - working as a team and not as individual units within the pod, akin to a pack of wolves - show their intelligence and cunning. Hunting in this fashion increases the yield of prey per individual, so that none go without.

Washington HOUSE BILL 1759

Passed Legislature - 2005 Regular Session

State of Washington
59th Legislature
2005 Regular Session

By Representatives Appleton, Bailey, Tom, Chase, Takko, McCoy, Skinner, Sells, Darneille, Schual-Berke, Hasegawa, Green, O'Brien, Strow, Eickmeyer, Morris, Moeller, Linville, Cody, Rodne, Morrell, Hudgins, Quall, Williams, Dunn, Campbell and Santos
Read first time 02/04/2005.   Referred to Committee on State Government Operations & Accountability.

AN ACT Relating to designating the orca as the state marine mammal; adding a new section to chapter 1.20 RCW; and creating a new section.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1 The legislature finds that many people visit Washington state to watch orcas, the orca is a significant symbol for the Native American culture, there are pods of orcas that migrate annually through Puget Sound, and the orca is easily recognizable because of its distinct markings. The legislature intends to promote orca awareness and to encourage protection of the natural marine habitat by designating the orca as the official marine mammal of the state of Washington.
 
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2  A new section is added to chapter 1.20 RCW to read as follows:
     The orca, Orcinus orca, is hereby designated as the official marine mammal of the state of Washington.

WashingtonLaw

The law designating the Orcinus orca as the official Washington state marine mammal is found in the Washington Statutes, Title 1, Chapter 1.20, Section 1.20.037.

Chapter 1.20 RCW
Title 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS

1.20.037
State marine mammal.

The orca, Orcinus orca, is hereby designated as the official marine mammal of the state of Washington.

[2005 c 51 § 2.]

Notes:
Finding - Intent - 2005 c 51: "The legislature finds that many people visit Washington state to watch orcas, the orca is a significant symbol for the Native American culture, there are pods of orcas that migrate annually through Puget Sound, and the orca is easily recognizable because of its distinct markings. The legislature intends to promote orca awareness and to encourage protection of the natural marine habitat by designating the orca as the official marine mammal of the state of Washington." [2005 c 51 § 1.]

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Orca

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetartiodactyla[a]
(unranked): Cetacea
(unranked): Odontoceti
Family: Delphinidae
Genus: Orcinus - Fitzinger, 1860
Species: O. orca

State Mammals
State Mammals & Animals
Mammals are vertebrates (backboned animals) that feed their young on mother's milk.
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