Orca Captures

I published a story last year in Columbia Kids, the Washington State History Museum’s new online publication for teachers and kids. The story I wrote was a historical fiction account of one of the most horrific orcas captures in Puget Sound, which took place in 1970. You can read the story here.

Captured Orca Penn Cove, Whidbey Island, WA 1970 Photo by Dr. Terry Newby

Captured Orca, Penn Cove, Whidbey Island, WA 1970 Photo by Dr. Terry Newby

Unfortunately, it was far from the last. As late as the Spring of 1976, there was an orca whale capture in Southern Puget Sound, in Budd Inlet. Pods of orcas were driven south from the Tacoma Narrows using airplanes, explosives, and high speed boats as the whales were herded into nets. Thankfully the Budd Inlet capture was America’s last. Since that time, Orca Network and many others been working and fighting for orca protection all over the globe, but especially on the west coast.

One of the heroes that day in 1976 was Don McGaffin of KING Television in Seattle. Don was involved in the Penn Cove captures on Whidbey Island as well. The film that Don took at that time has long been missing from any public viewing and next Tuesday, June 23rd, at 6:30 pm, it will be screened at the Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59, on the Seattle Waterfront. It is stunning photography of what life was like for Puget Sound orcas being hunted and captured in the 1970’s.

$50 admission goes to the Orca Network. Sign up here if you’re interested.

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