07/05/2012: "10th Anniversary Celebrates Orca Rescue"
("Celebrate Springer" photo)
The 10th anniversary of the only successful rescue of a killer whale and reunion with its family concludes with a four-day celebration in Telegraph Cove at the north end of Vancouver Island in July.
The orphan Springer (A73), now 12 years old, has recently been sighted on the central British Columbia coast and hopefully will return as she has annually to Johnstone Strait with her extended family of Northern Resident killer whales during the celebration July 12 through 15.
The four-day celebration includes public events featuring whale watching tours, a salmon barbecue, conservation information booths and activities at the Whale Interpretive Center, and a “Springer’s Story and Why It Matters” forum discussion.
Forum panelists are Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) marine mammal scientist John Ford, former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Deputy Administration Joe Scordino, Vancouver Aquarium marine mammal scientist Lance-Barrett-Lennard, and The Whale Trail’s executive director Donna Sandstrom. Moderating the discussion will be retired People For Puget Sound founder and director Kathy Fletcher.
The Telegraph Cove celebration is the third of three events to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Springer’s homecoming. Other events were held at at the Vancouver Aquarium on June 12 and at Seattle’s Alki Beach Bathhouse on June 23.
Springer, a two-year old orphan, appeared 10 years ago in Puget Sound near Vashon Island after becoming separated from her family.
The little whale was rescued and rehabilitated in Puget Sound, transported by jet catamaran to Dong Chong Bay near Hanson Island, released to the wild and reunited with her family on July 14, 2002.
“Many things came together to make the reunion a success,” said John Ford, DFO marine mammal scientist. “The donation of a jet catamaran allowed us to get her home quickly. Her family showed up much sooner than anyone expected. She eventually was able to keep up with them and, by the end of the summer, she was acting like a normal whale.”
“The Springer success story is an inspiration for all of us working in these marine waters,” said Lynne Barre, the lead for orca recovery at NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest regional office in Seattle. “The relationships forged by Springer have helped foster successful international cooperation on many conservation efforts, including oil spill prevention and response, fisheries management, and habitat protection.”
“Springer’s reunion is an unqualified success �" the only project of its kind in history,” said Donna Sandstrom, director of The Whale Trail. “But today, our Southern resident orcas are in trouble. We hope Springer’s success inspires people to join us in working on issues facing orcas today, with the same urgency, commitment, and resolve.”
For more information, check out the Celebrate Springer Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/CelebrateSpringer, and The Whale Trail, http://thewhaletrail.org/celebrate-springer