After humans, killer whales are the most socially and ecologically complex species on the planet. They pass on cultural traditions down generations, just like us. ADOPT a whale and help us learn more - including how best to protect them.

The Tale of Three Whales

The story of Springer, Luna and Sam


Saving Sam  

Sam, also known as T046C2, is a young Bigg's killer whale who became isolated from his/her family and trapped in a remote bay off Aristazabal Island on the BC central coast in July 2013.  Sam was afraid to pass through the shallow, narrow entrance of the bay on his own - he was trapped.  After several weeks of observation Sam began to lose weight and DFO and Aquarium researchers realized they had to help out.  On August 15th the team coaxed Sam through the entrance - after which he breached once beside our research boat and headed out to sea. We do not know why or how Sam lost his/her way but will continue to monitor his/her progress. 

Click here for more photographs and a brief timeline of Sam' story.


Photo: Lance Barrett-Lennard

The Saga of Springer  

Springer, also known as A73, became a media darling in Canada and the US after she was orphaned and became lost from her pod at one year of age, and months later was rescued, restored to health, transported back to the summer haunts of her pod and released.  She is in good health and fully integrated with other whales now, and is a poster child for both the resiliency of her species and power of people working together for a good cause. 

Click here for more photographs and a brief timeline of her story.

Photo: John Ford


Video produced by Mark Miller



Luna, Lost Whale of Nootka Sound 

Luna, known to scientists as L98, became separated from his mother and family at one and half years of age, and spent the next 5 years living alone in isolated Nootka Sound.  His attempts to befriend boaters caught the attention of locals, and he became the focus of an intense, multi-year debate about whether he should be captured and returned to his pod.  A belated decision to capture and move him was abandoned in the face of strong opposition by members of the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nations, who felt he was the reincarnation of Chief Ambrose Maquinna.   Luna remained in Nootka Sound and continued to be strongly attracted to boats, despite efforts to keep him away from them.  He was eventually struck and killed by a tugboat. 

Click here for more photographs and a brief timeline of Luna’s story. 

Photo: Lance Barrett-Lennard

If you are interested in more details on both Springer and Luna’s life, the book 'Operation Orca' by Gil Hewlett and Daniel Francis, (Harbour Publishing 2007) is a must read. As well, the film Saving Luna contains some wonderful footage of Luna in Nootka Sound.