The Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program is a program of the Coastal Ocean Research Institute, an Ocean Wise Initiative. All contributions go directly to research and conservation of killer whales in the wild. Contributions are tax-deductible both in Canada and the USA to the extent of the law.  


Over 25 Years of Adoptions

Last year marked the 25th anniversary of the Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program! Since 1992, the Adoption Program has supported ground-breaking research projects that have:



        Photo credit: Lance Barrett-Lennard

Today the Adoption Program continues to fund conservation-oriented marine mammal research, particularly involving killer whales. Our current lab and field projects include:
  • Working with scientists from NOAA Fisheries and SR3 to use drone-based photogrammetry to assess changes in the body condition of resident killer whales in relation to fluctuations in prey abundance

   Photo credit: Ocean Wise/NOAA/SR3 

  • Using an extensive set of DNA samples from male, female and juvenile killer whales to determine mating systems in Bigg’s killer whales

   Photo credit: Lance Barrett-Lennard

  • Comparing levels of genetic variability of twelve populations of killer whales across the Northeast Pacific to better understand their fitness, resiliency and conservation prospects




    Photo credit: Lance Barrett-Lennard