"Killer Whale Tales" Returns

March 19, 2012

The Oregon Coast Aquarium will present “Killer Whale Tales,” a program about Orcas, to students Thursday and Friday, April 5 and 6 and to the public Saturday and Sunday, April 7 and 8.

Orcas  (Orcinus orca) move silently through the dark waters off our coast and most Oregonians probably don’t know it.  Orcas, more commonly known as killer whales, are more often associated with Arctic waters, but scientists are taking a profound interest in the southern resident pods that live just off the Oregon coast part of the year. 

For the second year, the Aquarium’s education department is working with “Killer Whale Tales,” a Seattle-based nonprofit organization that brings current research on orcas to classrooms throughout the Pacific Northwest. The program combines storytelling with science activities that challenge students’ critical thinking skills and focuses on conservation of southern resident killer whales.

“Killer Whale Tales” will provide programs for both schools and the public:

Killer Whale Tales School Days, Thursday and Friday, April 5 and 6: Public and private schools and home school programs are invited to attend either a morning or afternoon program, at 11:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. The program is free with the price of regular admission.  Due to limited seating for school groups, advanced reservations are required by calling (541) 867-3474 ext. 5301, Monday through Friday. Lincoln County schools interested in hosting the program at their schools can contact Killer Whale Tales directly at 206-932-6722. 

Killer Whale Tales Public Days, Saturday and Sunday, April 7 and 8: Presentations will be held at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and lasts one hour. No pre-registration required, but seating will be on a first come, first served basis. The program is free with the price of regular admission.

About The Southern Resident Orcas Intelligent, social and surprisingly long-lived (the matriarch of one of Oregon's resident pods is over 100 years old), Orcas have fascinated us for centuries. In many ways, humans see themselves reflected back in this species, from the Orca's complex communication system to the loyalty they show for their family members. The Southern Resident Orcas are divided into three pods– J, K and L. These groups spend May through October around the San Juan Islands and southern Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The rest of the year they largely disappear and researchers aren't exactly sure where they go.  It is suspected that they may be in Oregon coastal waters.

Part of the ongoing conservation efforts include tracking the pods, a process that utilizes sophisticated underwater listening devices (hydrophones) that pick up and record Orca “songs.” If scientists can better understand the migration patterns of these whales, we might be more successful at preserving and even bolstering their numbers.

The Southern Resident Killer Whales are imperiled, listed as "endangered" in both Canada and the United States. The program, "Killer Whale Tales," offers visitors the chance to learn more about these amazing animals and how to take an active role in their protection and recovery.

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