Now that festive gear can be found in all store seasonal aisles, there is one gift this holiday season that funds cetacean research, education and does not contribute to the materialistic feel of Christmas – adopting a wild killer whale! Funding research that benefits wild killer whales is a great way to love and help protect these magnificent creatures in the long-term. Anyone can adopt – individuals of all ages, or even the whole family. The Vancouver Aquarium’s B.C. Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program matches up would-be adopters with their new 5,000 kilogram bundle of joy.

Each killer whale is unique and has its own story. Whales are identified by scientific number, adoption name, gender, and the year in which they were born. Sometimes adopters choose a whale whose birth year coincides with their own. That even works for senior citizens, says the Aquarium’s senior marine mammal scientist, Lance Barrett-Lennard, because whales can live into their 80s!

Adopters receive a package that contains a certificate, photograph, biography, and a list of the whale’s family members, as well as a CD of killer whale vocalizations and a newsletter.

Adopting a whale costs as little as $64. The money raised directly supports ground-breaking research on wild killer whales – research that is proving essential in the effort to protect these magnificent animals and their habitat. Funds raised through the program mainly support research on wild killer whales, but also includes other marine mammals that killer whales interact with – and sometimes prey on – in their marine environment.

Studying killer whales in the wild is expensive work. Travel, equipment, boat supplies and maintenance are some of the costs faced by researchers in the field. After the field season there are expenses for lab supplies and fees, software, student stipends and many other items. A membership in the BC Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program directly helps to offset these costs and make research possible.

To learn more or to adopt your wild killer whale, visit www.killerwhale.org or call the Vancouver Aquarium at 604-659-3430.