Vancouver, B.C. – One of British Columbia’s most famous killer whales has had her second calf — and the Ocean Wise® Marine Mammal Research Program is asking the public to vote on its name.
Springer (officially known as A73) is a Northern Resident killer whale that made international headlines in 2002 when she showed up alone and in poor condition in Washington’s Puget Sound. It took the efforts of two governments, scientists from both countries and experienced animal care staff from Ocean Wise’s Vancouver Aquarium to rescue, rehabilitate and reunite her with her pod in Canadian waters. Now, 17 years later, Springer has a family of her own. The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit (A104) in 2014, and now whale researchers are asking for help to name her second.
Since the calf officially known as A116 has survived its first two years — the most challenging period in the whale’s life — it can now be given a common name. The Whale Museum on San Juan Island does this for the Southern Residents, and the Ocean Wise Marine Mammal Research Program leads the naming process for Northern Residents and some Bigg’s (also known as transient) killer whales. While whale researchers still do not know the sex of the calf, they have collectively narrowed down the list of potential names to Spout, Storm, Sointula, and Sutil. Whales are generally named after geographic locations in British Columbia, and these names have meaningful connections to where the calf was first spotted or where its mother Springer was released. To give your input, visit ocean.org/namethecalf/ and vote for your favourite before March 8.
Springer and her pod are part of the Northern Resident population of killer whales, which roam the waters off northern Vancouver Island and the mainland coast as far north as Alaska. There are 16 pods totaling more than 300 whales in this community of killer whales. Springer’s pod is one that researchers at the Marine Mammal Research Program have been monitoring since the 1980s. They are part of the longest continuous study of killer whales, which includes photo identification, acoustic and DNA analysis.
This research project is funded in part through donations to the Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program. You can help support their efforts by symbolically adopting Springer and her calves; a special edition pod adoption package will be available following the voting period. These adoption packages will include an adoption certificate, a plush toy, and a story booklet of Springer’s rescue and release.
Read more on Springer’s rescue and release on the Ocean Wise Aquablog. To find out more about the Marine Mammal Research Program or the Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program, go to killerwhale.org or visit the Facebook page.
Ocean Wise is a not-for-profit organization whose vision is a world in which oceans are healthy and flourishing. Explore with us at www.ocean.org.
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