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.




Whale Update....

Northern Residents


Overall a slow month for Northern residents (But the North Island has been graced with Offshores in early March in Johnstone Strait). On another occasion, few northern residents were spotted right at the top of Johnstone Strait. G23’s were seen on March 14 with a brand new calf near Blackney Pass. A60 was seen near the end of April near God’s Pocket.


Southern Residents

March was a quiet month for the southern residents. Both J and K pod were heard calling on the hydrophone off Lime Kiln on March 3. The following day, J pod was seen heading west out of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The excitement picked up when J26 was identified swimming off the coast of Northern California. This is the first record of J-Pod in California waters! Eight days later, J-pod was seen in Haro Strait – they travelled more than 1300km in 8 days! Granny (J2), the oldest known living killer whale, was seen travelling with J-pod throughout early May.


Bigg's (Transients) 

Photo: Mark Mallason

The nice spring weather has brought in lots of sightings of Bigg’s killer whales. T011 and T011A were spotting cruising by off Tofino, BC on March 2nd. T065A was seen with her newest calf T065A5 on March 27 in Haro Strait. The month was capped off by a report of 15 unidentified Bigg’s in Trincomali Channel snacking on some nearby harbor seals. Sightings in March were also reported of the T002’s, T018’s, T30’s, T37’s, T49’s, T60’s, T123’s, and T124’s. The most exciting sighting of Bigg’s in March was near Squamish making both local and national news; keep reading for the detailed story! April was still full of Bigg’s sightings. The T136’s and T137’s were seen many times hanging out together. While many of the whales from March were resighted in April, we also had sightings of T36A’s, T49C, T63, T65’s, T75B’s, T077A, T86A’s, T87, T90’s and more!


May 2014
In this issue

 Whale Update
 Program Update
 Field Updates
 In the News 




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Adoption Program Update....

The Vancouver Aquarium welcomes Dr. Peter Ross!

Peter Ross

We would like to introduce Dr. Peter Ross as the Director of the new Ocean Pollution Research Program here at the Vancouver Aquarium. Dr. Ross is a world expert in the field of ocean pollution and is the only marine mammal toxicologist in Canada. His research will help understand the health of our world’s oceans by focusing on a number of topics including:

  • Marine mammals as sentinels of ocean pollution
  • Clean seafoods for coastal communities
  • Marine debris and microplastics
  • Hydrocarbons in the coastal environment
  • Emerging pollutant concerns

We are exciting for the collaborations Dr. Ross will bring to the Cetacean Research Program, and we are thrilled to be working with such an accomplished and passionate scientist.

Stay tuned for updates as his program and research projects grow.

Read more on the Aquablog




Field Notes....

DFO Research Cruise

One of our research assistant’s Chad Nordstrom from the BC Cetacean Sightings Network just returned from a two week trip on a cetacean survey cruise aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Rescue Vessel (CCGS RV) John P. Tully, a Fisheries and Oceans Canada research vessel. They were out collecting winter sightings data off the east side of Vancouver Island and north to Haida Gwaii. The trip reported sightings of just about everything one might expect or want to see in the region: Resident, Bigg’s and Offshore killer whales, humpback whales, fin whales, minke whales, Dall’s porpoises, elephant seals and the list goes on. Read more about Chad’s trip on the Wild Whale blog!



In the News...

Killer whales hunt Pacific white-sided dolphins in Howe Sound

The middle of March marked an amazing scene for many lucky people spending time near the water around Vancouver and Squamish.  A large pod of over 100 hundred Pacific white-sided dolphins were seen starting on March 14 around Howe Sound.  The pod moved in and out of False Creek and Burrard Inlet before being cornered near Squamish by a pod of Bigg’s (Transient) killer whales. Then it was snack time for the orca’s. Check out more details/pictures/videos from the news:

 Read More: CTV News

 Read More: Global News

 Read More: CBC News