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12 thoughts on “Will Salish Sea killer whales each get two names?

  1. All the politically-connected non-profits fighting for empire… If you’ll remember, the Puget Sound Partnership was going to put an end to this. Hasn’t worked though, has it? Still have them all. And then some. Something must be wrong with the PSP. Any idea what that might be, Chris?

  2. BlueLight,

    Believe it or not, there are some issues that have nothing to do with the Puget Sound Partnership.

  3. Yep. But this ain’t one of them.

    RCW 90.71.200(c) Puget Sound must be restored and protected in a more coherent and effective manner. The current system is highly fragmented. Immediate and concerted action is necessary by all levels of government working with the public, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to ensure a thriving natural system that exists in harmony with a vibrant economy.

  4. Ken Balcomb has done the annual census of this population for the past 34 years since its inception, and no one knows them better than he does. If anyone should be responsible for naming them or designating who names them, it should be him!

  5. Credit should go where it’s due — I vote that you follow Ken’s naming strategy. That, and I like the name “Molly” for an orca. Sorry Whale Museum.

  6. Ken is acting like a primadonna here, conveniently forgetting all of the research the Whale Museum has participated in over the years;e.g., hydrophones, Lime Kiln research station. The Museum’s naming system is democratic – it allows the public a voice. How ’bout we rename all the Salish Sea orcas with Native/First Nations names? Famous blues singers?

  7. During a time when we should be focusing on recovery of these animals from their status as an endangered species and their subsequent sustainability in the region, this is a ridiculous attempt to establish more of what we do not need- severed interests and empire building. There is a past between the two organizations that is long and complicated- it should be discarded and the focus should be driving public interest towards the fragility of this population. Instead, we sit here trying to figure out what to call individuals who, unless the Recovery Plan is put into action, monitored and makes an impact- will not live long enough for the fight over ego to see its appropriate end. Take it to the streets guys and focus on the whales who have put you both on the map of history.

  8. Sandy,

    You make a good point. But the whales are given names to make them more personal to people. I don’t think naming them takes away from the effort to protect and restore the population, but maybe you do. If you read this blog, you know I cover practically all killer whale issues.

    Setting aside the “long and complicated” history of the two groups, I’m wondering if you think that I (maybe everyone) should abandon the use of names and just stick with the alpha-numeric designations.

  9. I certainly didnt mean to imply the names for the whales are useless- I agree completely that having a “given” name as opposed to strictly adhering to an alpha-numeric designation makes the whales much more personal. Education is key to enlightenment- and the names (to me) generate a compassion which hopefully translates to an understanding of their vulnerability. I personally flip back and forth between both depending on the audience and mood- but that’s just me.

    My concern is based not on the existing naming structure which has “worked” for years to bring these animals into the hearts of many- but this new slant from Ken. Why now—or better yet, why at all? Each organization offers important (and very different) aspects of education and scientific outreach to the community/region/world/etc.

    It would just be nice to see everyone working together for recovery instead of rehashing old grudges and coming up with new ways to detract from the hard issues at hand we face in the recovery of the species. Infighting doesn’t accomplish anything and in actually, may cause some to throw their hands up in confusion and walk away.

    I’m glad you published this- we’ve all been wondering where it would lead and at least it’s “out there” for the public to see. I guess only time will tell…

  10. It really all comes from a confusion set in motion 30 years ago that persists, over how the research function and the museum could work best together. The ideal would be that “Each organization offers important (and very different) aspects of education and scientific outreach to the community/region/world/etc.” But that ideal was derailed when the Museum presented its mission as including research. The ideal symbiosis is still out of balance, so each is speaking for itself.

  11. UPDATE, Nov. 24, 2010

    Sometimes it takes a vacation to catch up on things. I always intended to list the new names given by the Whale Museum in this entry. I’m only two months late, after more than 7,500 votes were counted. Nevertheless, here are the new names as announced in a Sept. 15 news release:

    J-44: The Whale Museum’s name is “Moby.” Other alternatives were “Kellett” and “Fin.” Ken Balcomb did not announce a name for this one.

    J-46: “Star” is the name chosen by Ken, and Whale Museum voters concurred. Other options were “Galaxy” and “Dubhe.”

    L-112: “Sooke” will be the name listed by the Whale Museum. Ken had already named her Victoria. The Whale Museum also proposed “ReJoyce” and “Wonder.”

    L-113: Ken named her Molly. Whale Museum voters chose “Cousteau.” “Haro” and “Talise” were other alternatives.

    I still have not decided whether to list one or both names in my stories or simply call them by their alpha-numeric designations.

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