World Orca Day: Double celebration for Born Free

14 July 2022


Born Free applauds World Orca Day and marks the 20-year anniversary of Springer the orphan orca’s successful return to the wild – assisted by our charity.

A photo of an orca whale leaping out of the sea with a splash!

(c) J Towers

Today is World Orca Day and a double day of celebration for Born Free. As we honour these remarkable, deeply intelligent family animals – guardians of the ocean – we especially think of our adopted orca Springer. This extraordinary 21-year-old swims wild in the waters off Canada’s British Columbia coastline, with her two young children Spirit (born in 2013) and Storm (born in 2017). 

Thanks to her adopters, Springer has the most extraordinary true story. Twenty years ago today, she was released from her sea pen next to Hanson Island in the Johnson Strait, having been rescued in the sea by Seattle, USA. Just a baby at the time – orca have a similar lifespan to humans – she’d become lost when her mother Sutlej died.

Fortunately she was identified by her unique calls by our friends at Orcalab, based on Hanson Island. Established in 1970 and supported by Born Free’s orca adopters since 1994, Orcalab is world’s longest running study of cetacea (dolphins and whales). Back in 2002, with our help, Springer was brought 250 miles by boat and put in a sea pen, close to her wild family, the A4 pod. After a couple of days, on 14th July, the sea pen was opened and Springer swam free, to be enveloped amidst her loving family.

Ever since her release, Springer has swum with her family, and has flourished and grown, carefully monitored by Orcalab. Now a mother to two, Springer is a clear reminder that wildlife belongs in the wild and should be protected there. On this special day, please adopt Springer and pledge never to visit a facility exploiting captive orca. Thank you!