Springer in Seattle (Mark Sears)

Ten years ago, an orphaned orca named Springer (A73) appeared in Puget Sound – lost, alone, and 300 miles away from home. Six months later, she was rescued, rehabilitated, and reunited with her pod near the north end of Vancouver Island. Today, she is still healthy and swimming with her extended family, returning with them each year to their summering grounds in Johnstone Strait.

We are celebrating the 1oth anniversary of Springer’s homecoming this summer with events in Vancouver, Seattle, and Telegraph Cove, B.C.  Join us to celebrate Springer’s success with the people and organizations who made it happen, and learn what you can do to help orcas today. Event dates are:

Vancouver Aquarium
June 12, 7 pm 

Alki Beach Bathhouse in Seattle
June 23, 11Am – 3 PM 

Telegraph Cove, B.C. 
July 12 – 15 

Sprnger’s  project was led by NOAA Fisheries, Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Vancouver Aquarium. In Seattle, seven NGOs formed the Orphan Orca Fund to support the project. It is the only successful orca reunion in history.

Welcome Home Baby Orca (NOAA Fisheries)

Working on Springer’s project was a life changing experience for many of us. To get Springer safely home, we had to learn how to work together. There were unknowns and risks every step of the way. In the end, it worked out – better than anyone would have expected or predicted.

Springer turned out to be a resilient little orca, and weathered the stresses of the project with aplomb. Two governments and hundreds of people worked together to get the little whale home. But the final step was up to the orcas – Would her family recognize her? Would they accept her back?

Less than 24 hours after she was returned to Canada, Springer’s immediate family swam by her holding pen, with impeccable and mysterious timing. The team lowered the gates, and Springer swam out – reunited again with her grandmother, cousins and aunts.

The project wasn’t considered a success until she returned with them the following summer – which she did, and has, every years since.

What did we learn from the Springer project, and how can it help orcas today? See you in Vancouver, Seattle, or Telegraph Cove!

Springer with the A-11s, Summer 2011 (Leah Robinson)