For the person on your list who has everything, consider a truly unique gift: a whale adoption!
Funding research that benefits wild killer whales is a great way to love and help protect these magnificent creatures in the long-term. Anyone can adopt – individuals of all ages, or even the whole family. The Vancouver Aquarium’s B.C. Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program matches up would-be adopters with their new 5,000 kilogram bundle of joy.
Each killer whale is unique and has its own story. One of the bittersweet curiosities of the 2009 and 2010 field seasons in Johnstone Strait was the reaction of a female named Scimitar (A12) to the loss of her son, Nimpkish (A33). Scimitar is the matriarch of her family, the A12 matriline; however, after her only surviving son died in 2009, Scimitar didn’t attach herself to her daughter Simoom’s (A34) family as expected. Instead she spent extended periods by herself and in the company of three adult males, the A36 brothers who had lost their own mother many years ago.
“What a sight it was to see her little dorsal fin with three huge boys close by,” says Marie Fournier, Robson Bight Warden Program Coordinator for the Cetus Research and Conservation Society. Sadly, the eldest brother, Cracroft (A32) died in early 2010, but Scimitar spent the entire summer with Plumper (A37) and Kaikash (A46). Simoom and family were often close by too. Scimitar and the two brothers are still together in 2011 and it seems Scimitar has made a new family.
Whales are identified by scientific number, adoption name, gender, and the year in which they were born. Sometimes adopters choose a whale whose birth year coincides with their own. That even works for senior citizens, says the Aquarium’s senior marine mammal scientist, Lance Barrett-Lennard, because whales can live into their 80s.
Adopters receive a package that contains a certificate, photograph, biography, and a list of the whale’s family members, as well as a CD of killer whale vocalizations and a newsletter.
Adopting a whale costs as little as $64. The money raised directly supports ground-breaking conservation-oriented research on wild killer whales and aids in the protection of both their habitat and prey.
To learn more or to adopt your wild killer whale, visit www.killerwhale.org or call the Vancouver Aquarium at 604-659-3430.