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Bill making orca official symbol goes to governor
The Associated Press
OLYMPIA — A bill passed by the Senate yesterday would make the orca the official marine mammal of Washington, joining the apple and steelhead trout as symbols of The Evergreen State.
The bill passed 46-1, with Sen. Brian Weinstein, D-Mercer Island, casting the only no vote. He joked that it was a "protest vote" for the overlooked seal and sea otter.
"They were discovered by Lewis and Clark in the Columbia River, they are part of our tradition and they haven't gotten their due," he said.
Weinstein said that regardless of the slight to the smaller sea life, he's happy to see the killer whale represent the state.
"I think it's a more-impressive animal than a sea otter," he said.
The bill passed the House last month, 90-7. It now goes to Gov. Christine Gregoire, who is expected to sign it.
The state's resident-orca community is made up of three groups, known as J, K and L pods. Between 1996 and 2001, the population dropped by 18 percent, according to the state's status report. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife said there now are 88 southern resident orcas in the state's waters.
Killer whales, actually a kind of dolphin, are found in all the world's oceans.
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