A happy ending story from WDCS.
Springer was two years old when she was found lost and alone off the coast of Seattle in 2002: her mother had died and the orca was very unwell, underweight and far from her home.
A major challenge was to find out where Springer had come from. Apparently, orcas have distinctive calls and by listening to Springer’s calls experts from Orcalab were able to pin-point her origin as from the Northern Resident Community of orcas that spend their summers off the British Columbia coast in Canada.
A decision was made to take Springer back to Canadian waters. When Springer regained her health, she was transported to the Johnstone Strait. Once there, Springer was put into a pen with lots of fresh salmon and when a group of orcas approached, she called loudly to them – when the gate to the pen was opened, she hurried towards the other killer whales but, unfortunately, after a few minutes the whales swam off without her.
Soon, however, Springer was seen consistently with a pod of whales that were closely related to her mother. A female known as Nodales seemed to take on the role of Springer’s surrogate mother and was seen guiding Springer away from a boat when she went to approach it.
Springer is now 10 years old and is regularly seen swimming with her adopted pod and is looking in fantastic health.
The efforts to reunite the orca with her family were unprecedented and are a great example of what humans can do if we work together in the best interests of these incredible animals.