British Columbia’s newest northern resident killer whale now has a name.
In February, the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre asked the public to choose between four names for Springer’s second calf.
Springer (officially A73) is a northern resident orca that showed up alone and in poor condition in Puget Sound in 2002. The Canadian and U.S. governments, scientists from both countries and animal care staff from Ocean Wise’s Vancouver Aquarium worked to rescue, rehabilitate and reunite her with her pod in the wild.
In 2013, Springer was seen with her first calf Spirit (A104). By 2019, her second calf A116 survived two years and Ocean Wise determined it could be given a common name. The Whale Museum on San Juan Island gives the common names to the southern residents and the Ocean Wise Marine Mammal Research Program names the northern residents and some Bigg’s (transient) killer whales.
The four names that the public could choose from were: Spout, Sointula, Sutil and Storm. Storm, which was chosen for for Storm Rock in Fitz Hugh Sound where the calf was first seen in 2017, received the most votes.
Scientists do not know the sex of the new northern resident killer whale. Springer and her pod are part of the northern resident population which roam the waters off northern Vancouver Island and the mainland coast, as far north as Alaska. There are 16 pods totalling more than 300 whales. Springer’s pod has been monitored since the 1980s.