Punk’d

Posted by Ken Campbell August 27, 2011 0 Comment 718 views


There was a report yesterday of an orca that was struck by a fast-moving boat in Haro Strait. The boat in question wasn’t a commercial whale-watcher; it appeared to be a private boat and it has yet to be located.
From what I’ve been able to find out, it was a pair of kayakers who told authorities about the speedboat, although they didn’t actually claim to have seen a collision. They reported only that the boat in question ripped through an area where a small pod had just come up for air, and the fact that an orca was subsequently found to be lolling at the surface, possibly in distress, was enough to get the story of a hit-and-run out to the news wires.
Two and two do not, however, always make four. It turns out that the affected whale is an 18 year-old female, and she appears to be pregnant. She has been viewed by whale experts in the hours since the initial reports of the “accident” came in, and they seem satisfied that she is not in any distress, other than what might be common to first-time mothers (of any species).
So it’s a happy thing, rather than a cause for any consternation, right? Right. The thing is, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the restrictions on boaters – including kayakers – get even tighter in Haro Strait because of this incident and others like it. After all, a boat traveling at a high rate of speed was still too close to the whales, even if reports of a collision were exaggerated. It didn’t happen, but it could have. The distance requirements now have boaters staying at least 200 yards away from the orca – the next step could very easily be to close the area to watercraft completely. It is an option that has been discussed before.
Two and two sometimes make five.

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