Category: orca

A Plea for Whale Watching


There is much contention these days over whale watching in the Salish Sea. The Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force, charged with creating a list of recovery actions to save the southern resident killer whales, decided to make an 11th hour, back-room decision to include a 3-5 year ban on commercial whale watching in the Salish Sea in their recommendation package to Governor Inslee. This was done without public input, without consultation with biologists, and without talking to the Pacific Whale Watch Association. 

Imagine for a movement, all other factors remaining the same, that there was never a whale watching industry in southern resident killer whale territory.

Imagine how this would have impacted how we view these animals and their population status today.

Without whale watching, we would not know the unique personalities of each individual southern resident killer whale. The naturalists that spend years watching the animals know them all by sight and can tell you about their quirks and temperaments. The Whale Museum would have a difficult time offering unique, personalized whale adoption packages that provide adoptees with intricate details about an individual whales’ personality and life history. These adoption packages are extremely popular and are purchased by people all over the world and contribute to conservation. 

Without whale watching, we would not know the spunk and character of J50, the little whale who was photographed by many whale watchers displaying her exuberant and boisterous aerial behaviors: 

One of the most popular photos of J50, taken by Clint Rivers of Eagle Wing Whale Watching Tours. 

Without whale watching, millions of people would not have been exposed to the charismatic southern killer whale population. The majority of companies in the Salish Sea belong to the Pacific Whale Watch Association, a coalition of whale watching companies that adhere to strict federal and voluntary guidelines. The naturalists on these vessels are often scientists and educators and impart a valuable wealth of knowledge on their passengers; even when whales are not seen, they make an effort teach passengers about the natural history and conservation issues of the southern resident killer whales (I can attest to this personally after my whale-less trip in Victoria, BC).  Not only do they expose their paying guests to the world of southern resident killer whales, many of these companies and their employees also actively participate on social media and bring the whales to people who have never laid eyes on them through video and professional photographs (See Tasli Shaw, Gary Sutton, Grace Guiney, and Sara Shimazu for examples)

Without whale watching, biologists would have much less access to the valuable data that daily observations bring. Full-time biologists cannot afford to spend every day surveying the whales due to financial and time constraints. Whale watchers in the Salish Sea are often the first to document a new calf, interesting behaviors, and inform biologists of the whales’ whereabouts. 

Without whale watching, there would be less monitoring of private whale watching in the Salish Sea. Private boaters are the biggest violators of whale watching regulations, and commercial whale watching vessels are often the first to hail a private vessel and inform them of the whales’ presence and the proper vessel conduct. 

Finally, without whale watching, the world would have never known about J35 Tahlequah’s mournful, 17-day long journey carrying her dead calf. Her actions have caused the world to zero in on the southern resident killer whale population and demand action. Whale watching has been critically examined as a result of this newfound attention. Ironically, it was whale watchers who first saw her with her calf, still very much alive at first, and reported it to biologists. Without them, the world may have never known about Tahlequah and her calf. 

Make no mistake, whale watching can have negative impacts on whales. However, whale watching in the Salish Sea is among the most regulated whale watching activities in the world. When done correctly, whale watching has minimal impact on the animals, and any negative effects are usually offset by the huge conservation benefits whale watching brings. That being said, I see no issue with further regulations, such as a permit system for commercial operators. 

But keep this in mind: whale watching is not the cause of the southern residents’ decline, and a ban is not a solution. What these whales need most desperately above all else is SALMON. The actions that need to be done to save them are not easy, they are politically charged, and will take hard work to implement. Banning whale watching is a low hanging fruit that the Task Force has claimed as “bold action,” despite the fact it does not address the main issue of prey availability. 

The whales are starving. Banning boats will not bring them fish. You cannot eat what is not there. 

Please call Washington State Governor Inslee and urge him to reject a whale watching ban and instead favor solutions for salmon habitat restoration and dam removal. 360-902-4111. 

whaletalesorg: A Visit from “Captain Hook!” T…


A Visit from “Captain Hook!” To read this story (and more!), follow the link in our bio.⠀
Photo by @brendonbissonnette⠀
#whaletales #whales #killerwhale #orca #2017 #getonaboat #storytelling #whalewatching #salishsea




because colorful, existential cetaceans are a mood

taslishaw: Here is J14 “Samish” back in 2015….


Here is J14 “Samish” back in 2015.
Dont believe everything you see on TV or read online.
That’s all I have to say about that… #sciencedoesntcarewhatyoubelieve



Russian Orcas on facebook shared a post:

The freshly captured drone video from Srednaya bay in Primorsky Krai, Russia. You can see lots of beluga whales in small cells. Killer whales are kept under the roofs so we can’t see them.

#orcacaptures #belugawhalecaptures #dolphinarium #oceanarium #killerwhale #orca #belugawhale



Orca Task Force: “A moratorium on whale watch vessels and keep them from viewing the Southern Residents and it will totally help them recover!”

*ignores the fact that shipping traffic, military exercises, and private boaters are the primary cause of noise pollution (and blunt force trauma injuries) as well as the fact that this won’t actually fucking do anything to put more salmon in the Salish Sea*

Orca Task Force: “With no noise pollution from the whale watching boats [that arguably enforce whale watch guidelines better than actual law enforcement and educate the public about the whales], the whales will be able to find salmon easier!”






Still on a forced break caused by the flu so a few days behind but here’s InkTober nr. 25: L115 Mystic, a male born in 2010. He is the seventh offspring of his mum L47 Marina and has two living siblings, L83 Moonlight and L91 Muncher.

The Southern Residents are starving to death before our eyes. We have to take action now; breach the dams, ban salmon fishing and stop the pipelines! Check out, and for more information on how you can help. This is up to us!



I always love meeting wild new killer whales, but sometimes it’s just as exciting to “meet” a dead one.

This is Kruzof, a 4 year old killer whale that was found deceased on a beach in Sitka Sound, Alaska. A necropsy revealed that he had harbor seal claws and bones in his stomach, indicating he was a transient. Several different organizations came together to work on the “Dem Bones” project to rearticulate Kruzof’s skeleton. He now hangs above the touch tanks in the Sitka Sound Science Center, a small research and education facility in southeast Alaska.

It is so easy to forget how large killer whales are, even when you work with them and see them all the time. This male was only four years old and he was absolutely massive. I was actually quite startled when I first walked into the room. They possess a powerful presence when they are alive, but even in death, their remains manage to remind us how small we are.

cioranius: The Night is Young Orkid and Corky …


The Night is Young

Orkid and Corky II in my new artwork for an art trade on DeviantArt.
This painting is available as a print as I’m finally opening my RedBubble shop! *here*

Also, “The Night is Young” is 6000 px wide and has two color variants.
ver.1 // ver.2

themagicof-orca: No tricks for us this Hallo…


No tricks for us this Halloween 🎃 definitely all treats! 👌❤️

📷: our crew 🙌👊😍 @ Kaikoura, New Zealand