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Officials Urge Boaters To Steer Clear Of Pregnant Orcas

SEATTLE (AP) – Washington officials are requiring commercial whale-watching vessels to keep extra far from three pregnant orcas, in hopes of giving the endangered animals more space to feed and socialize.

Following reports that the three whales in J pod, one of the groups that make up the Southern Resident killer whale population, are pregnant, the Department of Fish and Wildlife adopted an emergency rule Monday requiring commercial whale-watching boats to keep at least half a nautical mile away from them or any group of whales containing them.

The orcas have a high rate of failed pregnancies, and officials are trying to give the whales the best chance of reproducing successfully.

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