Jul 27, 2015

The Lost Whale

by Michael Parfit and Suzanne Chisholm

In 2001 a small killer whale was seen in Nootka Sound, separated from his family group. He hung around there for five years. Apparently skilled and outgoing for such a young orca- at four years old and living solo he had no trouble catching fish to eat. The whale was approaching boats and acted very interested in people. His friendliness won him a lot of fans- people started travelling from afar to go out on the water and see this little whale that would come up to the side of a boat, nudge the sides, roll at the surface to look at people, flip his fins around and lob his tail, spyhop and surf the boat's wave- you name it. But when the whale grew bigger and got bolder it became a serious problem. He interfered with the passage of vessels, frightened people by lifting their boats out of the water, broke a number of propellers and rudders. People worried about serious damage or injury when he played around seaplanes and approached kyakers. There was a lot of public conflict over the fate of this whale- many said he should be left alone, which was difficult to enforce when the whale deliberately approached people. Others thought it cruel to deny the whale contact when he obviously sought it out. First Nations groups saw the whale as an embodiment of their ancestor and felt honored by his presence in their waters, they actively thwarted capture efforts. Attempts to relocate the whale or lead him back to his migrating pod would cost a lot, with little promise of success. Many worried that if the whale was captured he would not actually be relocated but end up in an aquarium instead. The book is all written in a very matter-of-fact reporting style, with here and there some lovely descriptions of the moods of the ocean or the texture of the water's surface. I mainly read through the whole thing just to see where the orca ended up. I'd never heard of this story before.

I borrowed this book from the public library.

Rating: 3/5      330 pages, 2013


bermudaonion said...

That sounds like a sad story.

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

I made a loud noise of anguish when I clicked on the link about where he ended up. Poor Luna! He only wanted friends! (Isn't Luna really more of a girl's name btw?)

Jeane said...

Yes. A little girl won a contest and named the whale 'Luna' for moon. I think at the time they didn't know if it was male or female. There's more here