Marine Mammals

An Orca(Orcinus orca)glides by off Lime Kiln State park on the west side of San Juan island. Orca also are regularly seen off American Camp during spring and summer.

BigStock Photo


Marine mammals are mammals that are well adapted for life in the marine environment. Two major groups of marine mammals are:

  1. Cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises)
  2. Pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walruses)

There are approximately 125 marine mammal species worldwide managed under the MMPA. Of those 125, 8 species are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (walrus, polar bear, sea otter, marine otter, West African manatee, Amazonian manatee, West Indian manatee, and dugong).

Status of Marine Mammals
All marine mammals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA); some marine mammals may be designated as "depleted" under the MMPA. Endangered and threatened marine mammals are further protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

More links:

Marine mammals of the Salish Sea, compiled by Albert Shepard

Last updated: March 1, 2015

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