Vancouver, B.C. – The results are in, and with almost 40 per cent of the vote, the youngest calf of one of B.C.’s most famous killer whales will now be known as Storm.
Last month, the Ocean Wise® Marine Mammal Research Program asked the public to help choose a moniker for two-year old A116, born to Springer (A73), the Northern Resident killer whale whose rescue and return to her home waters made international headlines in 2002.
Springer was only two herself 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 the young whale with her pod in Canadian waters. Now, 17 years later, she has a family of her own, and since A116 has survived its first two years — the most challenging period in the whale’s life — it can now be given a common name, a process led by the Ocean Wise Marine Mammal Research for Northern Residents and some Bigg’s (also known as transient) killer whales.
Whales are generally named after geographic locations in British Columbia; the name Storm was chosen for Storm Rock in Fitz Hugh Sound, where the calf was first seen in 2017. The other possible names included Sointula (30 per cent of the vote), Spout (25 per cent), and Sutil (5 per cent), all places that have meaningful connections to where the calf was first spotted or where Springer was released. Whale researchers do not yet know the sex of the calf.
The public also helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit (A104) in 2014, after Spirit Island on the B.C. Central Coast, close to where it was first seen.
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 symbolically adopt Springer and her calves Spirit and Storm with a special edition pod adoption package that will be available this spring. All proceeds go directly to conservation research on wild killer whales.
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.