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

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Celebrate Springer 2017!

In January 2002, a young female orca was spotted in Puget Sound near the north end of Vashon Island. Springer (A-73) was lost, alone, and 300 miles away from home. Over the next six months she was rescued, rehabilitated and returned to Blackfish Sound on the north end of Vancouver Island. Her grandmother, aunts and cousins came to pick her up less than 24 hours after she was returned!

Springer in Seattle

Fifteen years later, Springer is thriving. In 2013, she had her first calf, Spirit! It’s the only successful orca reunion in history, and it happened because we learned how to work together – as organizations, individuals, agencies and nations. Above all, we put Springer’s best interest first.

The project was led by NOAA Fisheries, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Vancouver Aquarium. Community members played a key role in determining Springer’s fate. Seven nonprofits joined together to form the Orphan Orca Fund, and supported the project with fundraising and in-kind donations.

Join us for this special event featuring Springer’s Story – a presentation narrated by members of Springer’s team, followed by a performance of the Le La La Dance group – First Nations dancers who welcomed Springer home.

Welcome Home Baby Orca

Hear first hand stories of how Springer went home, and learn what you can do to help save our endangered southern resident orcas today.

Later, join us at Point Robinson to dedicate our newest Whale Trail sign in Washington, with the help of the Le La La dancers. Don’t miss this!

When: Saturday May 20, 1 PM
Where: Vashon Theater, 17723 Vashon Hwy SW, Vashon Island
$10 General Admission, $5 Kids under 12
Advance Tickets:

Springer and Spirit July 2013, photo by Graeme Ellis DFO

4/20 New Giants of the Salish Sea, by John Calambokidis

Gray Whale in Puget Sound, by John Calambokidis

New research reveals insights into the return of two magnificent whales to the Salish Sea and the mysteries of their lives. Humpback whales who once roamed these waters 100s of years ago have returned in spectacular numbers. See some of the new research documenting this return, why it has occurred and some of the implications.

Gray whales migrate along the Washington coast and some feed in outer coast waters but one intrepid group, nicknamed the Sounders, has discovered a highly profitable but very risky feeding strategy in northern Puget Sound. New research and underwater video taken by the whales themselves reveals their incredible feeding strategy from a unique perspective.

Join us for this presentation by researcher John Calambokidis, a founder of Cascadia Research Collective who has studied large whales for over 30 years both in our waters and throughout the eastern North Pacific. 

Thursday April 20, 7 PM
Dakota Park Place Building, 4303 SW Dakota Street, Seattle WA
$10 General Admission, $5 Kids under 12

Get tickets now!

About the Speaker

John Calambokidis is a Senior Research Biologist and one of the founders of Cascadia Research Collective, a non-profit research organization formed in 1979 based in Olympia, Washington. He periodically serves as an Adjunct Faculty at the Evergreen State College teaching a course on marine mammals. 

His primary interests are the biology of marine mammals and the impacts of humans. He has served as Project Director of over 200 projects. He has authored two books on marine mammals (on blue whales and a guide to marine mammals) as well as more than 150 publications in scientific journals and technical reports. He has conducted studies on a variety of marine mammals in the North Pacific from Central America to Alaska. He serves as Project Manager of the Southern California Behavioral Response Study and has directed long-term research on the status, movements, and underwater behavior of blue, humpback, and gray whales. 

Some of his recent research has included attaching tags to whales with suction cups to examine their feeding behavior and vocalizations. His work has been covered on shows by National Geographic, Discovery Channel, BBC, and others. In 2012 he received the American Cetacean Society’s John Heyning Award for Lifetime Achievement in Marine Mammal Science.

First footage of rare beaked whales, diesel spill in BC, and more

News around The Whale Trail: whales and marine issues in the news today.

Caught on film for the first time: One of the world’s rarest whales. The first underwater images of True’s beaked whales show a cohesive group of three adult or subadult whales swimming together. The species is considered one of the most elusive in the ocean. (Washington Post, 3/ 8/2017)

Diesel Spill near northern Vancouver Island Emergency crews are responding to a diesel spill at a fish farm near the northern tip of Vancouver Island. (CBC News, 3/5/2017)

Vancouver Park Board holding special meeting tonight on future of whales at Vancouver Aquarium “The Vancouver Park Board is expecting a full house and dozens of speakers tonight, for a special meeting on the future of captive whales at the Vancouver Aquarium. The board will consider four options, which range from embracing the aquarium’s plans for expansion, to holding a city-wide plebiscite on the matter to banning captive cetaceans altogether.” (CBC News 3/8/2017)

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Orca Talk 2/23: Barnes Lake Killer Whale Rescue

Offshore orcas in Barnes Lake 1994. Photo by David Bain

In 1994, nine offshore killer whales became entrapped in a large tide pool at Barnes Lake, Alaska. A film crew sought help for the whales as NOAA determined how to address the life-threatening situation. Dr. Bain was recruited to help, and led the attempt to return the whales to open water.

Join us to hear this rare, first-hand story of an orca rescue. Dr. Bain will also discuss prior events that made the rescue effort possible, and the implications of this effort for the subsequent rescue of Springer (A-73).

When: Thursday February 23, 7:PM – 8:30
Where: C&P Coffee Company, 5621 California Ave Sw, Seattle
Tickets: $5 general admission. kids get in free!

<A HREF=”″>Buy tickets for Barnes Lake Killer Whale Rescue, by Dr. David Bain</A>

Buy tickets now, this will sell out!

About the Speaker

Dr. Bain has been studying killer whales since 1978. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and did post-doctoral fellowships at UC Davis and the National Marine Mammal Lab. His work has addressed many aspects of their biology and behavior. In recent years he has focused on the effects of disturbance.

Dr. Bain is a co-author of Canada’s Resident Killer Whale Recovery Strategy under SARA. In addition to his research, he is active in protecting and restoring habitat for killer whales and their prey.

In 2002, Dr. Bain was a scientific advisor to the Orphan Orca Fund, a coalition of non-profits that supported the successful effort to return Springer, an orphaned orca, to her pod.

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