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Famous rescued orca Springer now a mother, seen with first calf

Graeme Ellis
Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

The fairy-tale ending for a young orphan killer whale keeps getting better.

Canadian marine biologists spotted Springer the whale with her first calf off the coast of central British Columbia last week. This comes 11 years after Springer was rescued from the ferry lanes near Seattle and successfully reunited with her whale family at the north end of Vancouver Island. 

Helena Symonds of OrcaLab was one of the whale activists who urged fisheries managers in both countries to intervene at the time.

"We're just incredibly happy. This is a long story with a very complete feeling when she's gone from being a little orphan herself and now she's a fully-fledged orca mum. You know, it looks good for her," she said. 

Back in 2002, Springer turned up far from home in Puget Sound after her mother died. The risky decision to capture and relocate the hefty animal came after the lonely whale got too close to ferries and boats too many times.

Correspondent Tom Banse is an Olympia-based reporter with more than three decades of experience covering Washington and Oregon state government, public policy, business and breaking news stories. Most of his career was spent with public radio's Northwest News Network, but now in semi-retirement his work is appearing on other outlets.