In recognition of the 15th anniversary of the rescue of orphaned whale Springer off the coast of Vashon Island, the team that rescued her will come together Saturday and retell the story at the Vashon Theatre.
The talk will be the kickoff of “Celebrate Springer,” a series of events organized by Washington’s The Whale Trail to commemorate the story of the whale, which marks the only instance an orphaned orca has been successfully reunited with its pod.
Canadian Northern Resident orca Springer (A-73) was seen in the winter of 2002 alone in Puget Sound just off the coast of Vashon. By March, experts were considering capturing the whale — it would be the first orca capture in 27 years. Federal officials in March decided the orca would remain in the wild, and a risky rescue effort occurred in June. Washingtonians held their breath as the whale was reintroduced to Canadian waters 300 miles away in July. She was accepted back into her pod, and today Springer is still healthy and had her first calf, Spirit, in 2013.
“Springer’s story is an unqualified success — the only project of its kind in history,” Donna Sandstrom, director of The Whale Trail, said. “We hope her story inspires people to join us in working on issues facing our endangered southern resident orcas today, with the same urgency, courage and resolve.”
Saturday’s talk will be followed by the dedication of a sign from The Whale Trail at Point Robinson at 5 p.m.
“Celebrate Springer” events will continue through July and conclude with a three-day celebration at Telegraph Cove, British Columbia.
The 2002 Springer rescue team will regroup for a talk at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Vashon Theatre. It will be joined by Le La La Dancers, who were present at Springer’s release.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children and are available online at vashontheatre.com.