Two filmmakers join Indigenous leaders, scientists, and an orca mother in a final effort to save the last 73 Southern Resident orcas from extinction after the mother carries her dead calf for 17 days.
Coextinction goes beyond the typical wildlife documentary by transporting viewers deep into the Pacific Northwest’s oceans and forests to observe the intricate webs of interconnectedness that connect ecosystem collapse, centuries of injustice against Indigenous peoples, and the front lines of the most serious environmental threats. No species dies out on its own.
The orca, also known as the killer whale, is the largest member of the family of oceanic dolphins and is a toothed whale. It is the only extant species of the genus Orcinus and can be identified by its body pattern in black and white. Orcas are a globally distributed species that can be found in all of the oceans of the world, from the Arctic and Antarctic to tropical seas.
Due to the likelihood that two or more orca types are distinct species, the International Union for Conservation of Nature rates the orca’s conservation status as data deficient. Due to factors like diminishing prey, habitat loss, pollution (from PCBs), capture for marine mammal parks, and conflicts with human fisheries, some local populations are regarded as threatened or endangered. The southern resident orcas, which swim in the waters of British Columbia and Washington, were added to the U.S. Endangered Species list in late 2005.