Discovering Killer Whales in Clayoquot Sound
We’re working to promote conservation of the Bigg’s Killer Whale through our citizen science initiative; the Identification Catalogue is a tool to encourage responsible environmental stewardship and conservation efforts.
Bigg’s Orca are considered a threatened species because of small population sizes, low reproductive rates and human-caused changes in the marine environment. Collecting information on the living population is incredibly important for the preservation of the species. Our Bigg’s Orca catalogue needs to be updated to ensure that participants in our research and visitors have current information on the orca population visiting Clayoquot Sound.
Our identification catalogue is a user-friendly tool for connecting our community and the one million visitors to our coast with these incredibly important animals and the threats to their population. To continue this research effort we must update our catalogue in order to represent the Bigg’s population, provide current information on their status, and to be a useful resource for data collection, education, and conservation.
Orca whales (Ocinus orca) have been designated threatened species by Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in British Columbia. They are also a species of regional, cultural, and ecological importance. The three ecotypes of orca, Residents, Bigg’s/Transients, and Offshores, are considered threatened due to small population sizes; low reproductive rates and human-caused changes in the marine environment.
Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society (SIMRS) has been using citizen science to collect data on the Bigg’s Transient Orca in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia, for the last 24 years as this ecotype is our most commonly seen orca. This data has been compiled into an identification catalogue for Bigg’s Transient Orca as well as contributing to the Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s study of these animals.
Our Identification Catalogue is a unique and user-friendly manual designed to educate visitors to our area about the Bigg’s Orca that frequent the waters of Clayoquot Sound through local stories, information on the ecotypes, threats to the population, as well as an in depth guide to identifying individuals. Since the last printing in 2010, we have recorded 80 new animals in the area and we had a record of 85 days of Orca visitation to the area in 2014. Updating this book is an important part of giving back to our community and all the incredible work they have contributed to our research.
Our goal is that that the catalogue and stories will be enjoyed by those with an interest in marine life, inspire and educate readers and encourage responsible environmental stewardship and conservation efforts for Bigg’s Orca.
- $2500 – Printing costs
- $2500 – Project Supervisor (Book design and data organization)
- $35 – Small Change Fund fee
- $150 – Credit card processing fees (3%) so that 100% of your donations go directly to our project!
Why Discover Killer Whales in Clayoquot Sound?
With an ever-changing ocean, it is incredibly important to increase awareness and promote the conservation of the Bigg’s Orca. The identification catalog will be distributed to the ecotourism community to reach out to their patrons and share our conservation message. It is an educational tool for sharing local, historical and cultural stories that can foster personal connections to Bigg’s Orca and encourage stewardship and conservation efforts.