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Environmental Groups Launch Orphan Orca Fund
Source: ENS

The rehabilitation of an orphaned orca rescued in Puget Sound will be supported by a new fund launched by seven conservation organizations.

The Orphan Orca Fund provides a coordinated opportunity for the public to support the reintroduction of A73, dubbed Springer, to her pod in Canada. The fund will be administered by The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, Washington.

Sponsoring organizations also include the American Cetacean Society Puget Sound Chapter, Earth Island Institute, Friends of the San Juans, Orca Conservancy, Orca Alliance and People For Puget Sound, in addition to The Whale Museum.

"I want to express my appreciation for the support A73 is receiving from the citizens of Puget Sound through these organizations," said Bob Lohn, regional director of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

"Much of the monitoring, evaluating, and protection of the whale to date has been organized and freely given by these groups. Theircontinued support will be equally important in these next weeks and months," Lohn continued. "The funding and in kind donations that they're soliciting, and the volunteers serving with them, will provide significant supplies and services for the orca's treatment and rehabilitation."

The story of Springer, the orphaned orca calf alone in mid-Puget Sound since January, has captivated people around the world. Now it has spurred an unprecedented effort by scientists, federal agencies and non-governmental organizations to return her to the waters of her birth in Johnstone Strait, British Columbia, to give her a chance to return to her pod.

The purpose of the Orphan Orca Fund is to support the rehabilitation project now underway in Puget Sound. If all goes well, Springer will be relocated to Johnstone Strait later this summer.

The Fund will collect the expertise and resources of the coalition's participants to secure supplies and services for the project. The coalition has been given assurances from NMFS and other responsible parties that Springer is to be rehabilitated in a natural seapen or embayment, minimizing human contact.

All funds left over from the Springer reintroduction effort will support scientific research and conservation efforts surrounding Puget Sound's Southern Resident Community orcas.

Donations can be sent directly to Orphan Orca Fund, c/o Juanita Johns, Islanders Bank, PO Box 909, Friday Harbor, WA 98250.