Cetus Straitwatch killer whales

Help Protect Canada’s Killer Whales!

The waters of the Pacific Northwest are home to a wide variety of majestic marine mammal species. Among these are the iconic Killer whales (or Orcas) that people travel from around the globe to have a chance to glimpse in their natural environment. Killer whales are highly intelligent, extremely social and undeniably charismatic but unfortunately they are also still very much at risk. There are fewer than 90 individual killer whales left in the Southern resident population (frequently seen around Victoria and Northern Washington).

Cetus Straitwatch killer whales
Although once feared and grossly misunderstood, killer whales began to capture our hearts during the 1970’s when they began to show up in marine parks around the world. Unfortunately there are still many killer whales facing life in captivity but there has been a definite shift in public perception of these living conditions and many people now opt to seek out experiences with these animals in the wild.

We are blessed to have a chance to see these incredible beings in their natural environment but with increased shipping traffic and underwater noise, decreased salmon stocks and concerns around accumulated toxins, their natural environment is becoming increasingly challenging for them to live in.

Cetus Straitwatch killer whales
If we want to protect this beautiful, iconic yet fragile species it’s imperative that we do all we can to decrease current pressures that these animals are facing. We do not want to have to explain to our grandchildren that this incredible, intelligent black and white whale that used to exist off our coast is no longer there because our generation didn’t care enough to protect them.

Cetus is a non-profit, charitable society based in Victoria British Columbia, Canada. Since 2005 we have been working to facilitate the conservation of the marine environment through a variety of programs. One of our main programs is called Straitwatch and is an on-the-water monitoring and education program which helps to minimize disturbances to killer whales and other marine mammals.

Southern resident (fish-eating) killer whales are listed as endangered under the Canada Species at Risk Act (SARA) with fewer than 90 animals in the entire population. Research has demonstrated that killer whales show avoidance behaviour in the presence of vessels, and that whale responses to vessel presence and/or sound may include ceasing of feeding, resting and social interaction. Because of these impacts, federal guidelines have been developed to minimize disturbances while still allowing boaters to view these majestic animals in their natural environment. The Straitwatch program helps to ensure that these guidelines are understood and adhered to.

For the past ten years the Straitwatch program has received a significant portion of its funding from Environment Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program. This year our federal government funding was not approved. As a result we were forced to take our vessels off the water for all of August and September. This is the busiest time of the year for both boats and whales and since our boats have been tied up we have received reports almost daily of concerning incidents happening around the whales. These reports only help to reinforce the need for our program!

Cetus Straitwatch killer whales
© Jackie Hildering | http://themarinedetective.com

Without the government funding that we have relied heavily on since our inception, we are concerned about our ability to move forward as a society and to continue to provide this vital monitoring and education in future years. This is where you can help to make a huge difference in the lives of these killer whales!

Cetus is an incredibly efficient organization run by a team of unbelievably dedicated and passionate board members, staff, interns and volunteers.

  • If we are able to raise $300 000 we are confident that we can provide another full season of monitoring and education both in the waters around Victoria and in the waters around Northern Vancouver Island which are home to the threatened population of Northern Resident killer whales.
  • If we are able to raise even a portion of this amount, we will use this money to keep our organization going, to continue our community outreach programs and to provide at least partial monitoring throughout the summer.
  • The $300,000 goes towards fuel, moorage and essential maintenance for our vessels, as well as 8 full time (some seasonal) employees (in 2 different locations) to be out there providing the education and looking out for the whales best interests.

Your generous donation to our cause will help minimize potential disturbances around our iconic killer whales and other marine life, increase public awareness of these animals and the threats they face and promote respect and understanding of the marine environment.

If you wish to help and show your support, you can contribute as little as a dollar by clicking here.Contribute


If you are unable to make a financial contribution to our campaign you can still help make a big difference! Please consider helping out in the following ways:

  • Spreading the word about our campaign through email, Facebook, or other social media;
    You could choose to share the Facebook Update on the Ek Titli page, and they will contribute IRs 5.oo for every share (max. of IRs. 1,000.oo). Click here to view their Fb Update.
  • “Liking” us on Facebook; (Cetus on Facebook)
  • Attending one of our up and coming fundraising events in Victoria, BC which you can read more about on our Facebook page;
  • Writing to your local MP to express your support for projects such as ours. Or writing letters to The Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to express your support for Cetus Society and our programs. (Contact Stephen Harper)

Cetus Straitwatch killer whales

For more details please contact any of the members listed below:
Leah Thorpe or Megan Baker at info@cetussociety.org

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