A transient Orca whale or killer whale jumping out of water in Orcinus orca, Vancouver Island, Canada

Orca Conservation

Born Free has funded and supported the work of OrcaLab in British Columbia, Canda since 1994. Born Free funding supports the monitoring of wild orca and campaigning to prevent the capture of orca for captivity.

The IUCN currently classifies the orca’s worldwide conservation status as Data Deficient, recognising one or more orca sub-populations potentially being endangered. Certain local populations are considered threatened or endangered. For example, in 2005, the resident orca in British Columbia and Washington state waters were placed on the US Endangered Species list.






LOCATION: British Columbia, Canada

GOAL: To monitor the resident population of wild orcas and use findings to conserve them and raise public awareness.

THREATS: Due to their expansive range, orcas face many threats. They have been exploited for food and for use as entertainment in captivity. They have also sometimes being intentionally shot by fishing operators who see them as competitors. Disturbance from shipping lanes, and bioaccumulation (build up of harmful chemicals in orcas’ bodies) also pose a threat. Overfishing has also put some populations at risk from lack of prey.

ACTIONS: OrcaLab is the world’s longest field study of wild orca and has monitored these cetaceans for more than 40 years.

Born Free has funded and supported the OrcaLab team since 1994, as they work to understand the behaviour of the Northern Resident population and safeguard their future.

OrcaLab also work to:

  • preserve orca habitats
  • end commercial hunting and the keeping of cetaceans in captivity
  • push for the rehabilitation and release of captive orca


An orca leaping out of the water

Adopt an orca

One wild orca currently monitored by OrcaLab, and supported by Born Free, is Springer. The marine entertainment industry wanted Springer in captivity, but thanks to OrcaLab, she now swims free and has had calves of her own.

Adopt An Orca