Ehattesaht First Nation ‘very concerned’ about orphaned orca contacting boats

The 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 ordeals of a young orca named kwiisaḥiʔis, or “Brave Little Hunter,” continue after it freed itself from a lagoon south of Zeballos, though it remains in an inlet just shy of the open ocean.

In a press release from the Ehattesaht First Nation on Thursday, members said they are now concerned after finding out about reports of some interactions with vessels in the area.

In the release from the office of Chief Simon John, it notes that “right from start, the Nation has been concerned over the Brave Little Hunter being habituated and this factored heavily into all planning.”

The Nation is confident that the orca will still be able to survive on its own despite the help she received from humans during the roughly four weeks she was trapped in the lagoon. Chief John adds that they’ve heard the orca has been chasing otters in order to survive.

Despite the Nation’s confidence in the orca, after having discussions with Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) Marine Mammal Response Unit, the Ehattesaht First Nation and the Marine Mammal Research Unit (MMRU) will be increasing patrols in the area by boat, drone and helicopter to prevent contact with kwiisaḥiʔis by boaters.

The Nation and the DFO are asking boaters that are travelling through the area to remember there is a small orca around. The plea adds that if someone does see the orca to change course to avoid her. Do not stop to watch her and under no circumstances should anyone engage with the wild animal.

The appromxietly two-year-old orca spent more than one month in the lagoon after it followed its mother into the area on March 23. Its mother died shortly after, and the orca calf did not leave the lagoon until April 26, when it swam into Espinosa Inlet.

All observation rules can be found here.



Tchadas Leo

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