Each year some gray whales break-off their northern migration past the Washington coast and come into shallow waters to feed for extended periods. Cascadia Research has been conducting research on these whales since 1983. The first surprising finding was that many of these whales return year after year to the same region, and have found productive areas to feed for several months at a time. You can help support our research and education efforts on gray whales by adopting one of these "resident" animals. These whales have typically fed in several areas of the state including northern Puget Sound near Whidbey Island, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the northern Washington coast, and Grays Harbor.


Your Whale Adoption will support the following research and educational efforts:

    Identify the number and individual whales that come into inland waters.

    Each spring and summer biologists with Cascadia research take photographs of the whales that come into our waters that allow us to identify each individual from their distinctive natural marks. This allows us to determine which whales are using specific areas, how many whales are here, how long whales are staying, and whether the same whales are returning in different years.


    Tracking gray whale sightings throughout Washington wasters.

    Cascadia maintains a toll-free phone number (1-800-747-7329) for people to report sightings. These sightings help us to track whales. We also collaborate with other organizations (including the Whale Museum and their Whale Hotline for tracking sightings and movements of whales).


    Examining gray whales that strand or die in Washington waters.

    Working with other organizations that are part of the Northwest Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Cascadia examines the 2 to 14 gray whales that die each year in Washington waters. We use information from our tracking of live whales to determine where these whales had been feeding. We also work to help whales that get into trouble such as the two that we helped keep from becoming trapped in a shallow lagoon in southern Puget Sound and the whale we cut free from a fishing net in Hood Canal.


    Conducting education on gray whales in Washington State.

    We provide information on gray whales to the public and students through: 1) educational presentations to schools, 2) producing reports, articles, and books on gray whales, and 3) answering media inquiries about gray whales.



Your annual adoption includes the following:


Cascadia Research has identified over 150 gray whales in Washington waters over the last nine years. Among those available for adoption are:

 DUBKNUCK (#44):

 Named for the two closely spaced knuckles on his back. This whale was first seen in March 1991 in southern Puget Sound, but after several months moved up to more productive feeding grounds in northern Puget Sound. He has been identified some 34 times over the years, most recently in northern Puget Sound.


 This whale has been seen consistently in Grays Harbor, where it was first identified in 1989. This whale generally breaks from the northern migration in late March and spends April and May feeding in Grays Harbor.

 PATCH (#49):

One of our most conspicuously marked whales named because of the large white patch on his right side. This whale has been seen each of the past four years in April and May around Port Susan and Saratoga Passage.