The Whale Hotline: 1-800-562-8832
Have a sighting to report?
Call our toll-free number: 1-800-562-8832 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include date & time, location or GPS coordinates, and type of mammal with your message.
VIEW THE WHALE HOTLINE
The Whale Hotline public sighting network was initiated in the spring of 1976 as a means for members of the public to make collect calls to report orca sightings in Washington state to the Orca Survey. In 1977 the current toll free number was established (800-562-8832) and its focus was expanded to include reports of all species of cetaceans and marine mammal strandings in Washington state. During the winter of 1978 the phone line was moved to The Whale Museum where it has since been maintained.
All the information collected through the Hotline is recorded in our “Sightings” database along with information collected from participating whale-watch companies both in the U.S. and Canada, the Orca Network listserv, and directly from individual researchers and experienced observers. These combined sources account for 3,000+ records each calendar year.
For the past 7 years, The Whale Museum has been under contract with the NW Fisheries Science Center in Seattle to collect sightings of the Southern Residents in the Salish Sea. At the end of the calendar year, this data is compiled into a database called "Orca Master." The 1990-2010 data set currently contains over 50,000 sightings records. Orca Master was used extensively by NOAA when delineating the "Critical Habitat Areas" for the Southern Residents under their "Endangered" status listing.
The Museum maintains the data archives of this unique long-term record and makes it available for numerous research, educational, and management projects throughout the region. In addition to building a valuable longitudinal database, the hotline has successfully allowed a large spectrum of the public to directly participate in the stewardship of local marine mammals.
You may also want to view a series of charts that show since 1978 when the Southern Resident orcas were seen in the San Juan and Canadian Gulf islands, and when they were seen in Puget Sound (south of the San Juans). Another chart shows the breakdown, since 1976, of the monthly arrivals and departures of each pod. The data was collected and compiled by The Whale Museum staff.