Whale Sitings from Orca Network

A deceased yearling humpback whale was found on a remote beach just north of the entrance to Gig Harbor in south Puget Sound on Friday December 18th. She was towed and to a location and examined by Cascadia Research Collective and MaST. “…While the cause of death was not certain, it was in poor nutritional condition, with thin, dry blubber and little food in the stomach and also a significant number of parasites in the intestines and these may all have contributed to its’ death…”
You can see photos and full preliminary report on Cascadia Research Collective Facebook page
and read more in The News Tribune article.

Overall we end 2015 celebrating the birth and lives of the 8 new calves born to the southern residents in the past 12 months, the presence of a fin whale in the inland waters of the Salish Sea, and numerous humpbacks who appear to be moving back home to their ancestral home in Puget Sound.

Ten years after ESA listing, killer whale numbers falling – Seattle Times

The Times covers the decline in the Orca population. Is the tipping point near for no chance of recovery?  Craig Welch reports. (Seattle Times)


Pregnant killer whale J-32 was starving, necropsy reveals – CBC

So the latest death of an Orca was likely due to a combination of starvation and the fetus dying in utero. Bad story here for our joint efforts to protect the whales. A full fishing ban on chinook salmon is likely the only way out, as unpleasant as that may sound. They should know if it works within a year or two. In the meantime, here’s the story on J-32 and Ken Balcomb, one of the leading whale researchers, opinion.


Orca calf born to Puget Sound resident L pod – KING.COM

A wait and see attitude to being thrilled about this will have to hold off until we see if it survives. Rate of survival of Orca young is fairly low.

The Center for Whale Research is celebrating the birth of an orca calf in the Salish Sea, the first one since 2012. The proud mother is 23-year-old L86, and this is her second calf. The newborn has been designated L120. Susan Wyatt reports. (KING)


Two more resident orcas are missing. Now down to 78.

The population keeps falling.  Signs are pointing the wrong way. 

From Orca Network: “We’re saddened to report that the Center for Whale Research has announced that two Southern Resident orcas, L53 Lulu and L100 Indigo, have not been seen with their families in 2014 and are presumed deceased. 37-year-old female L53 lost her mother, L7, in 2010, and had no siblings. L100, a 13-year-old male, was born to L54 Ino and had two siblings, L108, an 8-year-old brother, and L117, born in 2010, gender still unknown. This brings the Southern Residents’ overall population down to 78, the same number that led to their listing as endangered under the ESA. No newborns have been seen since August, 2012.”

Springer the Orca is back in NW Waters -Huffington Post and others

This is fun to see.

Springer, Orphaned Orca, Reappears Off B.C. Coast With Family 

An orphaned killer whale who made headlines around the world when she was reunited with her pod off the coast of British Columbia has re-appeared — with her own thriving calf in tow. Whale researchers spotted Springer this week in the Inside Passage off B.C.’s North Coast. “They appear to be healthy and robust … normal in every way,” Lance Barrett-Lennard from Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Research Program, wrote in an email from the field. “Great stuff.” (Canadian Press)



Noted author and marine conservationist Erich Hoyt is the featured speaker when The Whale Trail’s Orca Tour 2014 comes to the Port Townsend Marine Science Center and to the Port Angeles Red Lion Inn on May 7 and May 8.
Hoyt is the author of the books, Orca: The Whale Called Killer and Marine Protected Areas for Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises, and will speak on “Adventures with Orcas in the North Pacific—From A1 Stubbs to Iceberg, the White Russian Bull.”

“We are living in an era and in a part of the world where whale research has exploded,” says Erich Hoyt. “And we’ve got some amazing orca stories to tell here—mostly positive, some heartbreaking, but all compelling.”

Orca Tour 2014 is a month-long series of event in May that follows The Whale Trail, a series of 50 sites where people in British Columbia and Washington, Oregon and California can view orcas and other marine mammals from shore.

“Extending The Whale Trail down the Pacific coast is an important step that strengthens the Killer Whale sighting network,” said Brad Hanson, NOAA Fisheries wildlife biologist. “At The Whale Trail markers people spend more time looking and they see and report more whales.  I think this is an excellent opportunity for citizen-scientists to provide valuable data on the distribution and seasonal occurrence of Killer Whales, particularly Southern Residents, as well as other species along the U.S. West Coast.”

“The tour is especially timely in light of National Marine Fisheries Service’s recent decision to consider designating the Pacific Coast from Cape Flattery to Point Reyes as part of the Southern Resident Killer Whale critical habitat,” said Donna Sandstrom, executive director of The Whale Trail. “From his early work in Johnstone Strait to his current research in Far East Russia, Erich inspires us all to better protect whales, dolphins, and the world’s oceans.We are thrilled to partner with Erich on this tour, and grateful for the host organizations and sponsors who have made it possible, from BC to California.”

Erich’s talk on May 7 will begin at 5 PM at Fort Worden, Building 204, immediately following the Marine Science Center’s annual meeting. Erich will sell and sign his books at 6:30 following his talk. Admission to the talk is free for Marine Science Center members; admission for adults is $7; youth under 18,  $3. The program is sponsored by the Marine Science Center and The Whale Trail.

In Port Angeles on May 8, Erich’s talk will begin at 7 PM (doors will open at 6:30 PM) at the Port Angeles Red Lion Inn.  Admission to the talk is $5 for adults; children under 12 are free. The program is presented by the Olympic Coast National Marine, the Feiro Marine Life Center and The Whale Trail and cosponsored by Sound Community Bank. Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets www.brownpapertickets.com/event/633364

“Like” Orca Tour 2014 on Facebook; Orca Tour information and local event information can be found at http://www.orcatour.org

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