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In the blink of an eye, the Salish Sea has suffered a deep and disturbing change. The number of threatened marine species has doubled in the past 15 years. A growing humanpopulation, increased shipping traffic, ocean acidification, and other factors are endangering the ecosystem. Orcas are among the victims of this deterioration.
The Canadian Orca Rescue Society (CORS) is committed to finding solutions to the threats which face the Southern Resident Orcas. Education and public awareness are pillars of Canadian Orca Rescue Society and their Orca Education Program has expanded to include a wide range of related topics which influence the health our our eco systems.
In 2022, CORS is rolling out Orca Clubs to schools in Greater Victoria. An Orca Club is a conservation education module that focuses on creating the conditions for Orca survival. Using 360° virtual reality (VR) films, VR headsets, and live discussions, students will learn how to best save the southern resident Orcas by actions they can take on land.
Virtual reality is a powerful educational tool and will inspire young minds. VR allows the user to experience vivid metaphors to illustrate things like how Orcas are affected by climate change.
British Columbia has several distinct Orca populations defined by where they live and what they eat. Those most at risk are the salmon-eating southern resident Orcas of the Salish Sea. Salmon is a keystone species and salmon stocks are in rapid decline. Without them, these Orcas will starve or move on.
Deborah Giles, an orca researcher, says of the southern resident Orcas, “They are a unique tribe of beings that have been here for thousands of years, foraging on abundant and fatty salmon. Because everything that is plaguing them is caused by humans, I feel that we have a deep responsibility to do everything we can to recover them. To preserve that uniqueness.”
Orca Clubs foster interest and knowledge about Orcas and the Salish Sea. Through Orca Clubs, students will learn how to conserve nature for a better tomorrow and become guardians of the planet. Orca Clubs are a force for restoring our threatened ecosystems.
CORS has been gifted several VR films introduced and endorsed by Jane Goodall which promote respect and conservation of our beautiful planet. CORS filmed extensively this summer and is currently editing video into a wonderful VR experience of Meares Island, Fairy Creek and the Salish Sea. In 2022, CORS begins filming an underwater film of orcas. We are joined in this venture by internationally recognized, "Orca Whisperer”, Pierre Robert De Latour. He has made more than 6,200 dives with orcas around the world and is the founder and president of the Underwater Soft Encounter Alliance (USEA), a professional network for diving operators who adopt a unique methodology of soft encounter while interacting with marine mammals.
We are looking to raise $100,000 to produce two VR films and create education materials that inspire young minds. CORS will have multiple clubs on Vancouver Island and online. Please support our efforts with a donation to our crowdfunding campaign. Donors who give $5,000 or more will be sent a copy of the films and a VR headset on which to view them. Donors who give $500 or more will be thanked in the VR films. And donors who give $100 or more will be thanked in our newsletter, The Pod. All donors who give $50 or more will be sent a CORS t-shirt, and thanked on our social media platforms.
By supporting CORS’s Orca Clubs, you shine a light on the threats to Vancouver Island’s unique ecosystems and help save the southern resident Orcas. Everything is connected. Everything is interdependent. Thank you for your kind and generous consideration.
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