Support the Marine Education and Research Society by sponsoring a Humpback Whale. With a minimum donation of $48, you will receive a card featuring a photograph of your sponsored whale and a USB memory stick with a biography and photos of the whale of your choice and Humpback Whale sounds recorded in the northern Vancouver Island area. MERS will also keep you posted about sightings of your sponsored whale, by sending you at least two updates about him or her within a year of your purchase of a sponsorship package.
Choose one of the five whales below, and click on the "Buy Now" button below the whale's biography to pay securely via Paypal and complete your sponsorship. All proceeds go directly toward MERS research, education, and response efforts.
If the sponsorship is a gift, after your purchase, please email us at so that we can personalize the sponsorship letter. Please include the name of the giftee, your relationship to them (friend, parent, etc ) and any other details you would like us to include in the letter.
We at MERS have known KC since 2002 when he first arrived on NE Vancouver Island with his mother Houdini (BCX0022). "KC" is short for "Kelp Creature" since when a first year calf, he appeared to love rolling in kelp when his mother would leave him briefly to feed. As an adult, he still seems to enjoy playing in kelp. He is a very acrobatic whale and has even ended up on the front page of a local newspaper, breaching in front of the town. In 2013, he was a victim of a vessel strike that has left his dorsal fin badly damaged.
Fluke identification photo of KC
Dorsal fin identification photo of KC
Ever since first appearing in our main study area in 2008 as a juvenile, Twister has been one of our most frequently sighted whales. He was nicknamed by a group of students for the swirl shape on the left side of his fluke. Then, ironically, in the spring of 2009 he became severely entangled in prawn traps twice in a 3-week period. Very thankfully, the entanglements were reported by the prawn fishermen to the DFO Incident Reporting Line (1-800-465-4336) and he was rescued by those with disentanglement training.
Fluke identification photo of Twister
Dorsal fin identification photo of Twister
Twister lunge-feeding on herring
When we at MERS first saw Slash in 2006, her injuries from a large propeller were still very raw. Even now, many years later, the scarring provides evidence of the severity of this vessel strike incident. She is definitely a survivor, having gone on to have a calf in 2008 and 2013. Her 2008 calf is Moonstar (see below) and her 2013 calf is "Stitch", nick-named for the distinct white line on his/her tail.
Fluke identification photo of Slash
Dorsal fin identification photo of Slash
Slash and her 2013 calf, Stitch
Moonstar is Slash's 2008 calf and, ever since Slash first brought Moonstar to NE Vancouver Island, s/he has returned to the exact same spot every spring. We have had the privilege of watching as Slash first taught Moonstar to lunge feed and now know that Moonstar has gone on to master a novel feeding behaviour we have dubbed "trap-feeding". We believe this technique for collecting diffuse amounts of herring has not been seen in any other area.
Fluke identification photo of Moonstar
Dorsal fin identification photo of Moonstar
We have documented Argonaut around NE Vancouver Island every year since 2009 and s/he has become one of the most predictably sighted whales in the area. Having been observed by thousands of whale watchers from around the world, Argonaut is quite the ambassador for his/her kind. The story behind Argonaut's nickname is a unique one, referencing "Jason and the Argonauts" of Greek mythology. MERS research reveals that Argonaut has survived being entangled in fishing gear at least twice.
Fluke identification photo of Argonaut
Argonaut in Weynton Pass, near Telegraph Cove