Cierra Hart and Michell Segal of Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society with the members of the Northern Lights Dancers at the Build-a-Whale program (Gareth Millroy | The Northern View)

Killer whale bones make debut at Prince Rupert Whale Festival

North Coast Ecology Centre Society second annual event with dancers and a Mother’s Day movie

A shark-eating killer whale skeleton made its debut in Prince Rupert over the weekend at the 2nd annual North Coast Ecology Centre Society Whale Festival.

Children had the opportunity to piece together the whale, bone by bone, from inside the Prince Rupert Convention Centre on May 11.

The two-day festival started on Saturday, featured an opening ceremony performance by the Northern Lights Dancers, a chance for the kids to build a whale and the Chowder and Dance Party fundraiser on Saturday evening.

On Sunday, mothers watch a free screening of the “Humpback Whale Documentary” narrated by two-time Golden Globe nominee Ewan McGregor.

Festival co-organizers Karina Dracott and Caitlin Birdsall said there had been a good turnout for the event and that it was great to see so many people and families come out to learn about whale bones and skeletons.

READ MORE: Whale festival makes a splash

Michelle Segal and Cierra Hart of Strawberry Isle Marine Research society travelled from Tofino and were on hand for the Build-a-Whale interactive program, helping children learn all about killer whales.

The Build-A-Whale program aims to educate participants about marine biology, anatomy, evolutionary science and conservation, and provides hands-on learning experiences, from interactive displays and stands to a full-size killer whale skeleton that children build.

Segal said that the sense of collaboration and comradery had blown her away. “I am so happy that we were invited here to the Whale Festival by the North Coast Ecology Centre Society,” Segal said.

The killer whale was found in 1997 in Tofino, where researchers performed a necropsy, studied and then preserved the bones. Segal said they discovered it was a shark-eating killer whale, which is rare. After Whale Fest, the Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society will be travelling with the skeleton across communities and schools in the northwest.

READ MORE: Kicking off whale season with a new festival

Fisheries and Ocean Canada (DFO) field supervisor Clarence Nelson, who attended the event along with fishery officers Jesse Risto and Katriona Day, said the event was very well organized.

“It’s great to see professionals from the area sharing the same goal; public awareness and education,” Nelson said.

READ MORE: DFO wants sports fishers to halve daily catch limits for prawns



gareth.millroy@thenorthernview.com

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Northern Lights Dancers performed for the opening ceremony at second annual North Coast Whale Festival, May 11 (Gareth Millroy | The Northern View)

Northern Lights drummers performed for the opening ceremony at second annual North Coast Whale Festival, May 11 (Gareth Millroy | The Northern View)

Northern Lights Dancers performed their song ‘Hello’ for the opening ceremony at second annual North Coast Whale Festival, May 11 (Gareth Millroy | The Northern View)

Jesse Risto, Fishery Officer of Fisheries and Oceans Canada with Clarence Nelson took time to discuss the DFO’s role in marine ecology with members of the public (Gareth MIllroy | The Northern View)

Joe Nelson and Colleen McDonald of the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) at the second annual North Coast Whale Festival, May 11 (Gareth Millroy | The Northern View)

Melanie Riddel, deckhand with the Port Authority patrol boat at the second annual North Coast Whale Festival, May 11 (Gareth Millroy | The Northern View)

Caitlin Birdsall and Donna Smith of Ocean Wise at the second annual North Coast Whale Festival, May 11 (Gareth Millroy | The Northern View)

Rob Dans is a Community Advisor, Andrea Komlos is the Education Co-ordinator for the DFO and Renee Samels is the Manager of the Oldfields Creek Hatchery at the second annual North Coast Whale Festival, May 11 (Gareth Millroy | The Northern View)

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