By becoming a member of the Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program you will be directly supporting research on wild killer whales. Continuing research will lead to a better understanding of the whales, their place in the ocean ecosystem, and the conservation measures necessary to protect them.


Program Update

New babies available for adoption!

We are pleased to announce that the killer whale babies born in 2013 and 2014 have been named and are now available for adoption!  The majority of these calves are from the Northern Resident population. The eight new calves making the news in the Southern Resident population were all born in 2015/2016 and will not be available for adoption until later this year.

Seven youngsters, all born in 2013, are available for adoption: Albion (A103) is the fourth calf of Sonora (A42); Stirling (A105) is the second calf of Kiltik (A52); Nowell (A106) is the fourth calf of Blinkhorn (A54); Blunden (A107) is the third calf of Misty (A62); Kipling (C32) is the third calf of Fifer (C13); Napier (C34) is the sixth calf of Lama (C8); and Hedley (D28) is the third calf of Christie (D11).  

Six youngsters, all born in 2014, are available for adoption: Jamieson (A108) is the first calf of Bend (A72); Eliot (A109) is the second calf of Midsummer (A69); Aster (B19) is the third calf of Klaskish (B14); Finis (C33) is the first calf of Naysash (C26); Nevay (D29) is the first calf of Whisky (D20); and Scarlet (J50) is the fourth calf of Slick (J16). 

Also joining the adoption program are two calves that were born in 2012, but unfortunately were missed when their cohorts were added: Rennison (G103) is the second calf of Glide (G54); and Suwanee (I138) is the fourth calf of Loquillilla (I12).

As in other years, the names of the northern residents are based on places along the BC coast and were selected by a committee of researchers managed by Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program staff. 

Visit the family matrilines in the 'Meet the Whales' section of our website to view the family trees. 

Eliot (A109) and family, the A23 matriline; Blunden (A107) in photo above
photo credit: Lance Barrett-Lennard 


2015 Blackfish Sounder

The 2015 annual newsletter of the Vancouver Aquarium Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program was shared with adopters in December.  This year’s issue focused on what causes killer whale families to split, an update on the photogrammetry project and the southern resident baby boom.  We distributed the newsletter via email again this year.  If you did not receive the newsletter, please [click here] to view the 23rd edition online.


In the News...

The baby boom continues!

A new killer whale calf spotted with J pod by NOAA Fisheries on January 18th, 2016 brings the count to eight new calves born to the southern resident killer whale population in just over a year!  The new calf, designate J55, was traveling close to both J14 and J37 making it difficult to determine who the mother is.  It may take a few encounters before the mother can be confirmed.

[Read More] CBC News

New southern resident calf, J55, traveling between J14 and J37.
photo credit: NOAA 


Cause of dealth unknown after orca calf found dead near Tofino

Just before Christmas news broke that the body of a female killer whale calf had been found on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  First thoughts were concerns that this ‘little’ whale was of one of the new southern resident calves born that year. However it was not possible to identify the individual animal or even the ecotype during the initial necropsy due to decay and damage to the carcass by foraging wolves. 

Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Research Program scientists performed DNA analysis on a tissue sample provided by DFO.  The very young female, estimated to be about 2 months old, was identified as a Gulf of Alaska transient – a separate population from those that inhabit the waters off British Columbia.  

Genetic analysis of the calf was run at the Vancouver Aquarium’s new Conservation Genetics Lab, located in East Vancouver and opened as part of its Coastal Ocean Research Institute, launched in 2014. The Research Institute is working to establish a baseline for the current condition of our marine ecosystems, and to deepen our understanding of future changes.

Photo credit: Vancouver Aquarium


[Read more] Vancouver Island CTV News


From the Archives

The first annual newsletter of the Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program, the Blackfish Sounder, was printed in 1993 – its purpose was to provide adopters with the latest information on killer whales in BC and other parts of the world.  Twenty-three issues (and years) later it’s fascinating to read the early editions and see how far we have come in the field of killer whale research.  

Enjoy some of the past articles as we pull some stories from the archive!


A day at the beach
For northern residents killer whales, there's nothing quite like a good rub



AFebruary 2016
In this issue

 Program Update
 In the News
 From the Archive 




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