Synopses & Reviews
Winner of Foreword Magazine's Best Nature Non-Fiction Award.
In 1964 when the Vancouver Aquarium obtained its first killer whale, Moby Doll, the prevalent attitudes towards killer whales was that they were fierce and vicious man-eaters. Over the years, attitudes have begun to change, and orcas are now revered as loveable, intelligent creatures and iconic symbols of the marine environment.
In January 2002, a young killer whale was discovered alone in the waters of Puget Sound near Seattle. Determining that the whale would not survive alone so far from home, a team of scientists captured "Springer" and transported her by boat north to her home range where she rejoined her family.
At the same time Springer was making her historic journey, another lone whale turned up in Nootka Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The people of Nootka Sound adopted "Luna" as their own, but he was a large, boisterous youngster who liked to cuddle boats and the government feared he would get into trouble. Another rescue was planned to return Luna to his family but this time there was no happy ending.
In Operation Orca, winner of the 2008 Foreword Magazine Nature Book of the Year award, author Daniel Francis and long-time Vancouver Aquarium staff member Gil Hewlett give breadth to the complications, contradictions, and political posturing that twice engulfed the debate of whether to interfere or let nature take its course. Through the amazing story of these two "orphan" whales, Operation Orca tells the larger story of orcas in the Pacific Northwest, the people who have studied them and the transformation of the whale's image from killer to icon.
Killer whales once had a reputation that was even fiercer than their name. But in 1964 the Vancouver Aquarium obtained its first killer whale, Moby Doll, and discovered that they were not the vicious man-eaters of legend. In January 2002, scientists reunited Springer, a young orphaned whale found in Puget Sound, with her family in BC. At the same time another lone whale turned up on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The people of Nootka Sound adopted Luna as their own. Another rescue was planned to return Luna to his family but this time there so no happy ending. In OPERATION ORCA, award-winning author Daniel Francis gives breadth to the political debate of whether to interfere or let nature take its course.
Through the story of Springer and Luna the larger history of orcas is explored in the Pacific Northwest and the whale's transformation for killer to icon.
About the Author
Daniel Francis is a historian and author of over twenty books, including Far West: The Story of British Columbia (Harbour, 2006), and, most recently, Kings of the Road: 100 Years of BC Trucking (Harbour, 2012). He also edited the Encyclopedia of British Columbia (Harbour, 2000), and is a columnist and editorial board member to Geist. Daniel Francis lives in North Vancouver, BC.Gil Hewlett joined the Vancouver Aquarium as the resident biologist in 1964. He has helped train many of the Aquarium's whales, including Skana and Hyak. Hewlett retired from the position of Assistant Director of Special Projects in March 2006.