News

Here’s where you’ll find news about orcas, marine mammals and the marine environment, from around the Pacific Northwest, and the world.

Have a story we missed? Tell us! Send your link, article or idea to info@thewhaletrail.org

News around The Whale Trail

Whales in the news over the last month, and other headlines.

Slower Ship Speeds in Santa Barbara Channel.  

Humpback whales seen off Manhattan NY 

In sadder news - 

Orcas captured in Russia 

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Help name Springer’s Calf!

Springer and Calf. Photo by Christie McMillan

It’s time to name Springer’s calf! Springer (A-73) is the orphaned orca who was rescued, rehabilitated and returned to her pod 12 years ago, with the help of many members of the Whale Trail core team.
 
Last year Springer was seen with her first calf (A-104), and they were both sighted again last month. The calf has survived its first year, and so is ready for a name!
 
Send your nominations to the Vancouver Aquarium (Adoption@vanaqua.org) until July 16. Voting is open to the public and will start July 18th. 
 
The Vancouver Aquarium gives names to the northern resident orcas, based on place names in BC. (Springer is named after Springer Point on Sonora Island). We don’t know yet if the calf is male or female.
 
 
 

NOAA Releases 10-yr Status Report on SRKW

It’s been ten years since the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) were declared endangered. What has changed since then? What have we learned, and how are J, K and L pods?

Yesterday NOAA Fisheries released a 10-yr update on the status of the southern residents. Key findings:

  • Southern Residents favor Chinook salmon as prey.
  • They are among the most contaminated marine mammals in the world.
  • When vessels are present, they hunt less and travel more.
  • NOAA established new vessel approach regulations and oil spill contingencies to protect the whales.
  • In the winter, they forage along the West Coast as far south as central California.

Read the full report and view supporting materials at the NOAA site http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/news/features/killer_whale_report/index.cfm.

Springer and Calf Spotted Yesterday!

Springer and Calf. Photo by Christie McMillan

Springer and her first calf were spotted yesterday in Fitz Hugh Sound by Lance Barrett-Lennard and team. This is the first time she’s been seen this season, and great news especially for all of us who were involved with her rescue.

Here’s the full text from Lance:

“Erin Rechsteiner, Christie McMillan, Christophe Guinet, Ruth Joy and I are pleased to pass on the news that Springer and her calf were sighted yesterday in beautiful Fitz Hugh Sound, alive and well. The five of us are working with the Hakai Beach Institute (HBI) on a collaborative study of humpback whale body condition and dive behaviour in relation to forage fish and krill schools. We were watching humpbacks feeding along the mainland shore near Namu when we received a report from Midoli Bresch (HBI) of killer whales travelling south from Fisher Channel into the northern part of Fitz Hugh Sound. Christie and Ruth headed over in a skiff to check them out, and quickly spotted Springer and calf surrounded by close relatives.

This is great news for everyone interested in the welfare of killer whales off the east coast of North America—and will be particularly gratifying to those who were involved in the many aspects of Springers’s identification, assessment, rescue, rehabilitation, transportation and release 12 years ago.”

Kudos to everyone involved! The lessons that we learned from that project continue to shape our efforts towards orca conservation and recovery today. The Whale Trail itself is part of Springer’s legacy. A great story goes on!

The Whale Trail is a nonprofit organization in partnership with
Partners NOAA Seattle Aquarium People for Puget Sound Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife The Whale Museum National Marine Sanctuaries