Oh Canada - Oh Orca (Canada Day, July 1)

For a long time several pods of Orcas have made their home in these waters off Washington State coast, the Gulf Islands, Salish Sea, Puget Sound and off Vancouver Island.  Orcas are not “killer whales”, a misnomer.  They belong to the Dolphin family (Delphinidae) and are the largest of Dolphins.  These black and white creatures are forceful and feared by seals and salmon, their prey.  Records show they have never attacked humans. Tourism has generated “whale watching” which is a popular part of the industry in this region.   
And yes, it’s called “whale watching”, because this is more sensational than “dolphin watching” I guess.  Lately the numbers of Orcas has dwindled by almost one-third.  Scientists don’t know why, but their guess is it has something to do with sonar sounding of US navy ships, less food sources, plus cruise ship noise and traffic. 

Some members of the Human Family are so clever at times, manipulating, scheming and shrewd, especially politicians and some corporations. Take the plight of First Nations people. (Who on the West Coast have a longstanding respect and reverance for Orcas.)  Disease, high rates of suicide amongst youth, misery, living in third world conditions  – they are neglected by those in power.  Still victims of the Wild West Cowboys and Indians complex. But you wouldn’t get this impression when arriving in Canada at either Toronto or Vancouver airports.  There, visitors are welcomed with powerful symbolic works of art by the same people to whom we show indifference.  In that environment they are glorified. 
Although the pods of Orcas in these waters are dwindling, fear not, we have an Orca mother and calf right here at the picturesque inner harbour of Victoria. They’re located at a busy intersection beside the iconic Empress Hotel.   
Mother and calf are not alive of course, but done in a highly creative, ‘hedge-cutting’ manner.  This Orca hedge sculpture prompted me to do a post in the first place, today on "Canada Day".

Henri van Bentum