Celebrating Springer: It’s been 20 years since the orca was caught and released in British Columbia
It’s been 20 years since teams from British Columbia and Washington State worked together to rescue an orphan orca named Springer.
She was the first orca to be captured and then successfully returned to her pod, and the anniversary of her rescue will be celebrated with events at Telegraph Cove from July 22-24.
Springer is now thriving with her two cubs – Spirit born in 2013 and Storm born in 2017 – but it was a rough start for the whale.
In 2002, she was spotted alone and emaciated in Puget Sound.
Experts were called, and after several months of monitoring her deteriorating condition, Springer was airlifted from Puget Sound in June of that year and taken by jet catamaran to the northern tip of Vancouver Island. She was then placed in a mesh pen at a research station, where she was rehabilitated.
She was released to the area when her group made contact and although not immediately, Springer was eventually readopted into her family.
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« Springer’s story is inspirational on many levels, » said Paul Spong of OrcaLab. “It proved that an orphan orca, alone and separated from its family, can be rehabilitated and return to a normal productive life with its family and community; and it showed that disparate parties with diverse interests can come together and work together for the common goal of helping a little whale.
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« Springer’s success story continues to be an inspiration to all of us working on conservation in the Salish Sea, » Lynne Barre, killer whale recovery manager at NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast regional office, told AFP. Seattle.
« The partnerships created during the Springer rescue provide a strong foundation for international cooperation as well as coordination between government, state, tribal and non-profit groups to benefit northern and southern resident killer whales. »
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The public is invited to an event called Celebrate Springer at the Whale Interpretive Center (WIC) in Telegraph Cove on July 23. There will be a team presentation and discussion at 11:30 a.m., activities for children and an eco-fair featuring marine-targeted non-profit organizations from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the WIC is compulsory.
« Springer’s reunion is the only such project in history, » Donna Sandstrom, director of The Whale Trail and author of the new book Orc rescue! said. « His continued success gives us hope and inspires us to address the issues facing orcas today with the same commitment, urgency and resolve. »
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