Sunshine and zodiac tours watching transient Orcas - what a perfect start to this Sunday!
Protecting Orcas and the Habitat they live in
Want to help protect orcas and the habitat that they live in? You can join Orca Spirit in supporting research and conservation of both transient and resident communities along the Pacific Coast.
The Southern Resident Orca community spends the majority of April to November in the waters off southern Vancouver Island, where they feed on the salmon runs that are moving towards freshwater rivers to spawn. This population has been studied intensively since 1976, and includes the whales that we see most often during our whale watching season, the J,K and L pods. Each whale in the population has a unique dorsal ﬁn and saddlepatch, which can be used to identify and track individuals. Every whale has been given an alphanumeric name for scientific purposes and a common name. For example, L-55 is Nugget, K-34 is Cali, and J-47 is Notch. This population is listed as Endangered in both Canada and the United States. Great efforts to study and protect the population are taken by governmental and non-governmental groups alike. Public support is greatly needed to continue these vital studies and conservation efforts so that we can ensure that this population not only survives, but thrives in the future.
The Whale Museum in partnership with the Center for Whale Research on San Juan Island, Washington operate the Adopt an Orca Program. You can adopt any member of the Southern Resident population through the Whale Museum. The Vancouver Aquarium in partnership with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada also operates the BC Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program. The Vancouver Aquarium allows you to adopt an orca from the Northern and Southern Resident communities or the Transient population. Through either of these organizations, you can choose and orca to adopt. The money goes directly towards biological studies such as genetic analysis, toxic contamination loads and dietary analysis to name a few. The funds also support conservation efforts to protect the environment that the whales live in and monitor boat traffic to prevent harassment of the whales.
When you adopt a whale from one of these organizations you get to choose your own whale and you will receive an adopting certificate with your whales picture and name. You will also be given information about your whaleʼs matriline and pod, along with other interesting information. Adoption packages range from individual whales to family groups, making them a great way to get yourself, your family or a classroom involved in whale conservation. Adoptions can be renewed annually. You can learn more about the adoption programs at www.whale-museum.org or www.killerwhale.vanaqua.org.
During the summer of 2011, Orca Spirit adopted 5 orcas from the Southern Resident community through the Whale Museum for each of the companies naturalists. Each naturalist got to choose which whale they wanted to adopt from the population that we see most often throughout the summer. Adopting the orcas has been a great way to give back to the animals we are so passionate about and love to share with people from around the world. We adopted Cappuccino (K-21) from K-pod, an active male of 26 years with a most distinctive saddlepatch; Skana (L-79) from L-pod, an adult male whose best friend is his younger brother Solstice; Slick (J-16) from J-pod, she is the successful mother of 3 offspring; Rainshadow (K-37) from K-pod, who loves to play big brother to his little sister Saturna; and Echo (J-42) from J-pod, who is famous for her playful behavior above the surface. Orca Spirit plans to adopt more whales this summer for all the captains of the company!