Site Search in British Columbia

Orcas in Johnstone Strait sm

Johnstone Strait, a 68-mile channel along the northeast coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, is home to about 150 orcas during the summer months. And for the last few days, two members of the Whale Sanctuary Project team, Dr. Lori Marino and Charles Vinick, have been exploring coves and bays in this supremely beautiful region.

First day out, while island hopping in the strait, they came upon the A30 pod, composed of about a dozen individuals, including an infant. When they stopped the boat to watch from a respectful distance, the whales decided to come closer. Soon they were diving playfully back and forth under the boat, and were joined by a humpback whale.

It’s an awesome region, and Lori and Charles viewed several coves and bays that, although quite remote, would be well-suited for a sanctuary.

They also visited with Dr. Paul Spong, a neuroscientist who studies orcas in the wild and has a special concern for Corky, who was captured from the A5 pod in 1969 and remains on display at SeaWorld San Diego. Corky is the sole survivor of all the orcas captured from the “northern resident community” of British Columbia orcas.

Back in Vancouver, Dr. Marino spoke with various media outlets, including on this interview with Breakfast Television Vancouver.

She gave a lunchtime talk to a group of faculty and students from the Animal Welfare Program at the University of British Columbia.

chief bob chamberlin 3And in the evening, she spoke to a packed house at the Roundhouse Community Center, presented by the Vancouver Humane Society and the BC SPCA.

The theme of the evening was “Reconciliation,” and was introduced by Bob Chamberlin, currently completing his third term as Chief Councilor of the Kwicksutaineuk Ah-kwa-mish First Nation.

Chief Chamberlin talked about his work in helping to bring about reconciliation between his people and European immigrants, and how, similarly, it is time to bring about reconciliation with our fellow animals and the natural world. He spoke about how the factory farming of salmon and the consequent poisoning of the once-pristine waters of the West Coast are devastating the marine life of the region.

Dr. Marino took up this theme, discussing how a sanctuary can give back to whales something of the life they’ve lost by being taken from their homes and families.

Our site search continues through the end of this week as we look at locations around Vancouver Island and the nearby Gulf Islands.

5 Comments On “Site Search in British Columbia”

  1. Lindi Engelbrecht (Bijin)

    This is FANTASTIC, I am so happy it is happening! I will tweet and share all over. Thank you so much to all who work so very hard for this.

  2. Thank you to everyone that had dedicated time on this project

  3. This is great news – especially as I live in Campbell River and see whales very often from the shore.

  4. Helena Gustafsson

    Always protect ORCAS and keep them safe 🙏🏻🐳🙏🏻

  5. Hello! My name is Brittany Peterson, and I am a video journalist based in DC, working for the 30 news outlets that make up McClatchy. I make short documentaries and video series about a wide range of issues. My recent reporting about the impact of Columbia River salmon on the health of the Southern Resident Killer Whales opened my world up to the story of Lolita, Korky, and other large marine mammals who society increasingly wants to see free, but are lacking realistic solutions to resolve their situations.

    I am reporting a story for the Miami Herald about Lolita’s situation, exploring the option of a sea pen for her in the Puget Sound, and am looking at the larger solution this organization is proposing that could improve life for Lolita and many others.

    I am struggling with how to SHOW this project proposal, which is of course still morphing and hypothetical. I am hoping to connect with Dr. Lori Marino to chat about this, and request access to some footage from the recent exploratory trip to the region. I connected earlier this week with Dr. Rose who have me some fantastic background.

    I look forward to connecting with you!

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