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The Center for Whale Research is a 501C3 non profit organization registered in Washington State. Tax ID# 91-1334319

Dear Center for Whale Research supporters,

This year was a busy one for the Center for Whale Research. We were involved in many projects, each with the hope of helping our 74 Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW) recover and thrive. Here is a snapshot of our accomplishments:

•    We worked tirelessly and relentlessly advocating for immediate action by politicians to reverse the dramatic decline of Chinook salmon stocks (SRKW prey of choice). Ken Balcomb, who has studied and observed Southern Resident orca behavior longer than anyone, was on the Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force, advocating at every opportunity for the breaching of the Lower Snake River dams to recover a critical Chinook salmon feeding ground. 

•    We opened the Orca Survey Outreach & Education Center in Friday Harbor in July. The mission of the new facility is to educate and give back to the public the information and knowledge that we, and our colleagues, have gathered during 43 years of research of killer whales in our region.

•    In partnership with scientists at the University of Exeter and York in the UK, we launched our Aerial Observation Study using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to collect video documenting behaviors of the Southern Resident orcas.

•    We introduced to the world the first ever Orca ID app that allows observers to identify Southern Resident orcas using their smartphone. There have been 3,000 downloads of the free app since July.

2018 was also a very difficult year for our Southern Resident orcas. We watched J35 carry her deceased calf for a record 17 days; we watched four-year-old J50 die of malnutrition; we lost L92, a vibrant young male. The deaths brought the SRKW population down to a critical low: 74 whales.

There has been much debate during this past year about what measures should be taken to help this much-loved population of animals survive. We believe there is only one way that this will happen and this is to recover their principal food source, the endangered Chinook salmon.


Our work is far from over. We need your help to continue our studies, and to speak out on the Southern Resident orcas behalf. Would you be willing to make a special year-end donation to help us continue our vital work?

Your support makes a difference.


If you would like to make a donation online, please click on the donate button on this page. If your preference is to mail CWR a check, please send it to the address shown below. Either way, we will send you a tax receipt for your donation.


Thank you for your continued support and friendship.


With gratitude,


The Center for Whale Research Team

Ken, Astrid, Dave, Michael, Melisa, Jane, Mark, Darren, Katie, Lisa, Lodie, Carlene, Hanna, and Tom 

Center for Whale Research

355 Smugglers Cove Road • Friday Harbor, San Juan Island • Washington 98250

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The Center for Whale Research is a 501c3 nonprofit organization registered in Washington State.

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