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Report Your Sightings To Help Conservation Efforts

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Photo: Caitlin Birdsall
ap-killer-whale-pod.jpg
Credit: Lance Barrett-Lennard
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A Pacific white-sided dolphin in Howe Sound

The B.C. Cetacean
Sightings Network

If you see a whale, dolphin, porpoise or sea turtle, we want to know!  Since 2000, the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network has engaged coastal residents and mariners in collecting and reporting sightings of cetaceans and sea turtles. With a coastline as long and intricate as British Columbia's, monitoring cetaceans year round is difficult for researchers without help from the public. This is where the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network makes a difference.

Visit the B.C. Cetacean Sighting Network to learn more.

Humpback Whale Photo: Caitlin Birdsall

How It Started

The Vancouver Aquarium has studied wild cetacean populations since the early 1970s. In 2000, a new project began at the Aquarium to help acquire and compile important conservation information about the relative abundance, distribution, and habitat use of B.C.'s whales. In 2004, we added sea turtles to the network. Since its beginning the program has recruited a network of over 3,000 individuals and collected over 60,000 sightings.  The BC Cetacean Sightings Network works in collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to use this important information to better understand and conserve these populations. 

Cetaceans And
Sea Turtles In B.C.

From the enormous blue whale to the petite harbour porpoise, the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network has collected reports of 23 different species of cetaceans, and three species of sea turtle in B.C. waters. Unfortunately, 16 of these species are listed at-risk. To learn more about the identification and natural history of these animals, check out Wild Whales, the home of the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network. 

Throughout the year, BCCSN staff also do a variety of outreach events and presentations to recruit and train potential observers around the coast.  Find out about upcoming events here.

Dalls Porpoise Photo: Lance Barrett-Lennard
Killer Whale and Sail Boat Photo: Andrea Park

Report A Sighting

Observers can report their sightings by calling 1-866-I-SAW-ONE (1-866-472-9663) or use the online form.  Logbooks are also available.

The following details are key observations to note:

  • Location
  • Time
  • Species
  • Number of animals
  • Sighting distance
  • Behaviours (such as breaching, fluking and feeding)
  • If possible, take photos or video to accompany your sighting
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