In 1970, Dr. Paul Spong founded OrcaLab, a small land based whale research station nestled against the evergreen forest of Hanson Island in the waters of the "Inside Passage" of northern Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.
The work of OrcaLab is based on the philosophy that it is possible to study the wild without interfering with lives or habitat. A network of hydrophones, positioned around the orcas' "core habitat" helps us monitor their movements all year round. Supplementing the acoustic data are visual sightings of orcas as they pass OrcaLab, and reports from land observation sites during the summer "season" as well as reports from other researchers and whale watchers who share observations and information. Since 1994, OrcaLab has operated a video monitoring station on Cracroft Point in Johnstone Strait that allows the unobtrusive collection of both surface and underwater images of orcas and other ocean life. Beginning in 2000 and continuing through 2005, OrcaLab and Japan's NTT Data Corporation brought the everyday beauty of the orcas' lives to the Internet via www.orca-live.net/community. More recently, a partnership with www.explore.org has seen the development of a network of remote video cameras that stream live high definition video from orca habitat to the Internet. We are thus now able to bring live imagery as well as live sounds to a worldwide audience via the Internet.
OrcaLab's work also includes vital conservation issues - preservation of orca habitat; release and rehabilitation of captive cetaceans, especially Corky; and bringing to an end the dismal era of commercial whaling.
I didn’t get to spend a lot of time at Orca Lab this year, but it was well worth it. I feel so fortunate to be able to come to Hanson Island. I not only get to meet new people and see old friends, but also spend time in one of the most beautiful […]