Orphan Orca 'Springer' celebration and West Seattle Whale Trail signs dedication at Alki, June 23
CELEBRATING ORPHAN ORCA SPRINGER RESCUE POINTS
WAY FORWARD TO PROMOTING WHALE HEALTH TODAY
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the week the orphan orca A73 (Springer) was rescued from waters off Seattle and taken to a floating net pen on the west side of Puget Sound.
For a month in 2002, Springer was given veterinary care and fed until her health improved. She was taken by jet catamaran to the north end of Vancouver Island and released to be reunited with her Northern Resident family.
Tuesday evening, the Vancouver Aquarium and whale conservation partners from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and The Whale Trail celebrated the 10th anniversary of Springer’s successful rescue and recovery, and how far she’s come since then. The celebration included first-hand accounts from several individuals who played key roles in Springer’s rescue and rehabilitation.
“The Springer success story is an inspiration for all of us working in these marine waters,” said Lynne Barre, the lead for orca recovery at NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest regional office in Seattle. “The relationships forged by Springer have helped foster successful international cooperation on many conservation efforts, including oil spill prevention and response, fisheries management, and habitat protection.”
Celebrate Springer events continue Saturday, June 23, at Seattle’s Alki Bathhouse beginning at 11 AM to 3 PM.
“Springer’s reunion is an unqualified success – the only project of its kind in history,” said Donna Sandstrom, director of The Whale Trail and organizer of the Seattle event. “But today, our whales are in trouble. We hope Springer’s success inspires people to join us in working on issues facing orcas today, with the same urgency, commitment, and resolve.”
The free program features a welcome dance by the Duwamish Tribe’s Singing Feet dancers. Members of the rescue team and others will share personal remembrances.
Highlight of the celebration will be the Le-La-La Dancers, [http://lelaladancers.com/] a First Nations dance company from Victoria, appearing in Seattle for the first time and performing a killer whale mask dance and other traditional 'Kwakwakakw dances. Members of the group greeted Springer from a canoe in Dong Chong Bay with the same mask when she returned home 10 years ago.
As part of the celebration, The Whale Trail will dedicate four new educational marine mammal-watching signs funded by a grant from City of Seattle Neighborhood Matching Fund. The signs alert people to what to watch for and how people can help keep the marine mammal of the Salish Sea healthy.
Next month, a four-day celebration will be held from July 12-15 at Telegraph Cove, British Columbia, where Springer was released in 2002 and rejoined her Northern Resident family.
For more information, check out the Celebrate Springer Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/CelebrateSpringer, and The Whale Trail, http://thewhaletrail.org/celebrate-springer