Chronology of Orphan Killer Whale A73 (Springer) Events

July 4, 2013:  A35s sighted off British Columbia's central coast with Springer A73 and her new calf! 

Summer 2004-2012: A73 returns again with her pod and appears to be healthy and active.

July 12, 2012: Celebrating Springer on the 10th anniversary of her rescue and release

July 14, 2007: A group of government, non-profit and public participants got together to celebrate the five-year anniversary of A73's successful rescue in Telegraph Cove, BC, near where the whale was reunited with her pod. A73 has returned each summer with her family, the A pod of Northern Resident killer whales. True to form, she made an appearance during the weekend. Many of the participants got a chance to see A73 in person during a special whale watch with Jim and Mary Borrowman of Stubbs Island Whale Watching. Other events during the weekend included a panel discussion to talk about lessons learned from the rescue, updates on A73's condition and the future of killer whale conservation.

July 13, 2003: A73 returns with her pod.

July 14, 2002: A73 responded excitedly to whales from her pod swimming in the area near the net pen. Officials from the Vancouver Aquarium and Fisheries and Oceans Canada decided the time was right to release A73. The gate of the net pen was raised about 2:45 p.m. PDT, allowing the whale to swim free.

July 13, 2002: A73 was picked up from the net pen where she had been tested and treated for the past month. She was loaded onto a catamaran donated by Nichols Bros. Boat Builders and made a smooth trip up the coast to Johnstone Strait between the Canadian mainland and Vancouver Island. At Dong Chong Bay on Hanson Island she was unloaded into another net pen to recover from the trip. A73 recovered quickly, and appeared quite excited to be in the area.

June 13, 2002: NOAA Fisheries and its partners completed the initial rescue action. A73 was moved safely to a floating net pen at a federal facility on the west side of Puget Sound. Veterinarians assessed her medical condition and treated her. The whale soon recovered her health and gained weight. Video monitoring was an important part of making sure A73 didn't’t become too attached to people. The staff collecting behavioral data around the clock could watch from a remote video observation station and see what she was doing. Observations of A73 feeding on live salmon put in the pen could be done from a distance, so she wouldn't learn to associate food with people.

May 24, 2002: NOAA Fisheries announced that it would attempt to rescue A73. The agency formed a rescue team of experienced and highly qualified experts, and made plans in partnership with Washington State and Canadian officials. Fisheries officials also opened discussions with a variety of public-interest groups. The assistance of these groups was valuable in monitoring, evaluating and protecting the whale. Seven of them established the Orphan Orca Fund to provide a single, coordinated opportunity for the public to support A73’s rescue. To help with these efforts, and cover a portion of the costs, NOAA made available emergency funds from the Prescott Stranding Grant Program.

April-May 2002: In addition to some health concerns, A73 became increasingly interested in people and boats. Such behavior threatened her success in the wild, and she needed to be treated for her medical conditions and moved from a busy shipping lane.

Jan. 14, 2002: A73 was observed alone in Washington State's Puget Sound near Seattle.