Orcas in Oregon

Washington Department of Fish & Wildife

Those who lived in Oregon in the ’90s will remember Keiko the orca and his rehabilitation at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. Keiko’s story is a sad one, illustrating why orcas should not be kept in captivity.  Keiko is now gone, but Oregon whale-watchers still have plenty of opportunities to see the trademark black and white pattern of these charismatic cetaceans.  

On May 10, The Orca Tour comes to Newport, where author and activist Erich Hoyt will talk about Oregon’s local orcas and opportunities to see them in the wild. Orcas are most commonly seen in Newport and off Depoe Bay, south of Lincoln City, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. In June 2010, a pod of orcas swam into Yaquina Bay and a little ways up the river, thrilling lucky onlookers.

In the 1960s and ’70s, Pacific Northwest orca pods were hunted and captured for use in marine parks, and the southern resident orca population is endangered, in part due to those harvests. Earlier this month in Sacramento, Calif., lawmakers tabled a bill inspired by the documentary Blackfish that would make it illegal for animal parks like SeaWorld San Diego to use orcas in shows, according to TIME Magazine.

The talk begins at 6:30 pm Saturday, May 10, at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased here.