Since 1976, the Center for Whale Research (CWR) has been dedicated to the study and conservation of the Southern Resident killer whale (orca) population in the Pacific Northwest.
On the water
An Encounter refers to any time we observe killer whales (orcas), from one of our research boats or land, where at least one individual is identified and photographed. Typically, 2-4 staff are involved in an encounter. Once we come into contact with whales (i.e., within a distance of identifying individuals by sight), we have begun our encounter. During an encounter, our primary goal is to photograph every individual present from both the left and right sides.
44 years of RESEARCH
Every year for over four decades, we have collected detailed demographic data on the Southern Resident killer whale population, recording all observed births and deaths. We have also gathered detailed information on the behavior and ecology of these animals, including information on where the animals are in geographic location and time, and their social behavior and foraging patterns. This dataset has provided ground-breaking insight into killer whale biology and ecology that we hope will help to inform management decisions to conserve this vulnerable and now endangered population.
There is no more important issue facing the future survival of J, K, and L pods than ensuring that they have enough salmon to survive and reproduce. Restoration of the Snake River system to normative flow is essential for this to happen on a scale that is meaningful for the salmon and the whales,
and for the fishermen.
- Ken Balcomb, CWR Founder and Senior Scientist
OUTREACH & EDUCATION CENTER
Because we are a very hands-on learning center, we will be TEMPORARILY CLOSED to limit the potential spread of illness. We hope to see you soon.
185 S. First St., Friday Harbor, San Juan Island WA
Become immersed in the world of whales through our interactive displays. Watch amazing videos and listen to the whales vocalize underwater. See big screen video footage of the whales in the wild as experienced from our research boats. Come meet the naturalists and researchers, they'll share their knowledge of the magnificent whales of the Salish Sea.
Together we CAN help
Become a CWR Member or make a DONATION
The Center for Whale Research has been studying these amazing whales since 1976, but our work is far from over. We need your help to continue our studies and to speak out on the Southern Resident orcas behalf.