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An Orca is an Orca

J56 Tofino with her uncle, J27 Blackberry making a close pass by the rocks at Land Bank on San Juan Island. Photo by Susan Marie Andersson. Story by Amy Eberling

Many think an orca is an orca.

How lucky are we to know that couldn't be further from the truth. Not only are there different ecotypes of orcas that rely on a healthy and thriving Salish Sea that are culturally and uniquely expressive in so many different ways, but the individuals among them branch even further into idiosyncratic personalities and behaviors. An orca is no longer just an orca when you hear the underwater calls, witness the cuddle puddles, or feel the exhilaration after watching a breach. My on-the-water experience with the Southern Resident orcas changed the trajectory of my life. When the world feels heavy, I remember the sight and sound of water and air passing through a blowhole. Breathe out. Breathe In. No choice but to dive back in. Experiencing an orca, paired with quality education, can invoke the environmental change necessary to bring quicker and greater efforts to restore declining parts of our ecosystems. We need to connect more people with these brilliant marine mammals and the ecosystems they rely on. Thank you OM, for helping with that.

Amy Eberling


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