May 30th, 2024

Fisheries Department warns boaters against disturbing orphan B.C. killer whale calf

By The Canadian Press on May 3, 2024.

The Fisheries Department says its monitoring and patrolling ocean waters off northwest Vancouver Island to ensure boat traffic doesn't interfere with an orphan killer whale calf's ability to reunite with its extended family. A two-year-old female orca calf, named kwiisahi?is, or Brave Little Hunter, by the Ehattesaht First Nation, is spotted at the Little Espinosa Inlet near Zeballos, B.C., Friday, April 19, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

ZEBALLOS, B.C. – The Fisheries Department says its monitoring and patrolling ocean waters off northwest Vancouver Island to ensure boat traffic doesn’t interfere with an orphan killer whale calf’s ability to reunite with her extended family.

The Fisheries Department says in a statement it will be monitoring the location of the young female orca as she searches for her family in ocean waters near Zeballos, B.C., located more than 450 kilometres northwest of Victoria.

The killer whale calf, named kwiisahi?is or Brave Little Hunter by the area’s Ehattesaht First Nation, left a remote tidal lagoon for the ocean last Friday where she had been trapped since March 23 after her pregnant mother became stranded on a rocky beach at low tide and died.

The Fisheries Department says kwiisah?is’s chances of meeting up with members of a transient pod of Bigg’s killer whales, of which she is related, are good, but she should not be further habituated to people or boats.

The last sighting of Bigg’s killer whales from her pod was more than three weeks ago in waters south of Zeballos near Ucluelet, B.C.

The Fisheries Department says disturbing marine mammals is prohibited under the Marine Mammal Regulations and could result in fines of up to $100,000.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 3, 2024.

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