Springer, believed to be the first orca to be rescued, rehabilitated and successfully released back into the wild, has been spotted for the first time this summer by researchers in the waters off British Columbia. Excitingly, she was accompanied by her calf, first seen in 2013. This is particularly significant as it means the calf has survived its first year of life, once of the most challenging times for an orca.
In January 2002, Springer (or A73) was found apart from her pod and ill in Puget Sound, near Seattle. Her mother was dead and it was thought that she was unlikely to survive on her own. She was then held in a huge ocean pen whilst a plan was formulated. Later, in July 2002 she was transported to Blackfish Sound, near Alert Bay off northern Vancouver Island, held in another sea pen and then released when her pod appeared.