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Springer, 12, skips her party but orca's survival celebrated

Jul 17 2012

The guest of honour failed to turn up for her party in Telegraph Cove on northern Vancouver Island this weekend.

But it did not spoil the celebration because all the guests know she is healthy and out in the ocean taking part in whale activities, said organizer Mary Borrowman.

The party was to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Springer's homecoming, which saw the orphaned, sickly killer whale, a member of the threatened northern residents, brought up from Puget Sound and reunited with members of her pod as they swam through Johnstone Strait.

"We went out to see if we could find the young lady on Saturday, but there were no orcas that day," Borrowman said.

"But we know she has been seen this year. She's alive and well."

Springer is now 12 and some were hoping this could be the year that she would turn up with a calf of her own, but that has not yet happened, Borrowman said.

"She's at the right age now, but we have heard positively that she is not travelling with a baby," she said.

Springer, although doing well, has remained smaller than other whales her age, Borrowman said.

The Telegraph Cove celebration, which followed similar events in Seattle and the Vancouver Aquarium, brought together many of the team of U.S and Canadian government agencies, scientists, First Nations and community groups involved in the rescue a decade ago.

The dramatic rescue in 2002, which saw Springer captured in Puget Sound, treated in Washington state and transported to northern Vancouver Island by jet catamaran, remains the only time such as successful operation has taken place.

jlavoie@timescolonist.com

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