Wild Whales

Home of the BC Cetacean Sightings Network

Seen a whale? We want to know!

Wild Whales is the home of the BC Cetacean Sightings Network, a conservation and research program of the Coastal Ocean Research Institute (an Ocean Wise initiative), in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. We collect sightings of all cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and sea turtles from British Columbia and surrounding waters. By analyzing reported sightings we are able to gain valuable information about species distribution patterns and aid in future recovery and management plans for species at risk. REPORT A SIGHTING HERE!

Report a Sighting

We need your help!  By reporting sightings, researchers are able to better understand the relative abundance, distribution, and habitat use of BC’s threatened and endangered cetaceans and sea turtles.

Identifying Species

Some species, such as the killer whale, are large, distinctive and easy to identify. Other species, however, are more difficult to distinguish.  Download our printable guide to help with identification!

Threats to Cetaceans

Of the 23 species of whales, dolphins, porpoises, and sea turtles in BC waters, 12 are listed under the Species at Risk Act as Endangered, Threatened, or Special Concern.  Learn more about the many anthropogenic threats these animals face.

How Sightings Are Used

Information about the distribution and abundance of species is the key to both understanding the status of the species, and whether the status of the population is improving, steady or declining.

Recent News

A Mother’s Loss

How the death of newborn calf is showing the effects of a changing environment By Volunteer Writer Kathryn Gibb It should have been a cause for celebration.  On July 24, J35 (Tahlequah) - a member of the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population - gave...

The Plight of the Vaquita

By BCCSN Volunteer Writer, Kathryn Gibb First discovered in 1958, the vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is a small, shy species of porpoise residing solely in Mexico’s Gulf of California. At only 1.5m long, it is the world’s smallest species of cetacean. Though they inhabit...

eXXpedition: Women on a Mission for Science

By Kathryn Gibb, volunteer writer for the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network.  On June 23rd, 2018, the female-led research group eXXpedition begins their 3,000 nautical mile voyage from Hawaii to the Pacific Coast. Their 72 foot sailboat, Sea Dragon, will be home to the...