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THE LOST WHALE by Michael Parfit

THE LOST WHALE

The True Story of an Orca Named Luna

By Michael Parfit (Author) , Suzanne Chisholm (Author)

Pub Date: June 25th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-312-35364-3
Publisher: St. Martin's

Six years in the life of a young killer whale that lost contact with his family yet managed to survive on his own.

Parfit and Chisholm (co-authors: Blame It on the Weather: Amazing Weather Facts, 2002) chronicle the life of Luna, an orca first sighted swimming with his mother in 1999. Unusually, the pair appeared to be alone, with no other whales in sight. In 2002, Luna showed up alone in the coastal waters on the southern tip of Vancouver and began swimming around the docks and following boats; he appeared to be attempting to befriend humans. The authors describe how Luna evoked an empathetic response due to his obvious loneliness and hunger for social contact. He would also solicit physical contact, gesturing with his flippers and looking people in the eye. He also played with boats, sometimes carefully lifting and pushing them. Conservationists had hoped that his pod would return so that he could be reunited with them, but the pod did not come back. Scientists and government authorities tried to enforce laws prohibiting people from interfering with orcas, officially an endangered species. Luna was nonthreatening, gentle and responsive to verbal cues to stop an activity, but they feared that he would become too attached to humans. In 2004, on assignment from Smithsonian magazine, the authors first met Luna. They were reporting on a conference where his fate was being hotly debated: Would he be allowed to remain free in hopes that he could reconnect with his pod, or should he be sent to an aquarium? In 2007, the authors produced the award-winning documentary Saving Luna.

A tender, nail-biting account of an orca’s fate as the Canadian Fisheries and Oceans Department considered trapping and sending him to captivity.