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Info about orca captures sought

Orca Network is looking for historic documentation of the orca whale captures in the Salish Sea between 1966 and 1976.

The local marine mammal monitoring group based in Greenbank is gathering the information in conjunction with an event in Coupeville on Sunday, Aug. 8, marking the 40th anniversary of orca captures in Penn Cove in 1970, said Howard Garrett of Orca Network.

The group seeks news stories, photos, audio or film recordings of captures in the Salish Sea, which extends from the north end of the Strait of Georgia and Desolation Sound to the south end of the Puget Sound and west to the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, including the inland marine waters of southern British Columbia, Canada and northern Washington.

During the decade, 58 Southern Resident orcas were removed from the population; 45 were delivered to marine parks and 13 were killed during the captures. Seven orcas were captured in Penn Cove.

All the captured whales were dead by 1987, except Lolita, an orca currently in Miami Seaquarium in Florida.

Saturday’s sea and onshore events to remember the capture of orcas in Penn Cove will begin with a wreath ceremony at 3 p.m. off Coupeville. Kayaks and small boats can be launched from Captain Coupe Park.

Following the on-the-water events will be a reception with Ric O’Barry and other guests from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Coupeville Wharf. There will be displays depicting the Penn Cove whale captures.

O’Barry is a former dolphin trainer for the “Flipper” television show who turned activist to battle against the captivity of dolphins after one died in his arms.

O’Barry’s 2009 film, “The Cove,” which exposed the seamier side of mammal capture and captivity, won an Academy Award for best documentary.

Concluding the commemoration will be presentations beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Coupeville Library, with guest speakers O’Barry, Garrett and others. Witnesses to the captures also will share their memories. The evening will include a silent auction, coffee and desserts.

To submit capture documentation, call Orca Network at 360-678-3451, e-mail info@orcanetwork.org or visit www.orcanetwork.org.

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