California Killer Whale Project (CKWP) is a newly established 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a long-term data set and history of killer whales (Orcinus orca) along the California coast. CKWP was officially established in December 2019, but research started long before then. We have a 66 year database of killer whale sightings!

Our mission is to continue the long term study of the ecology, natural history, and conservation of California’s killer whales.

Nancy Black and Alisa Schulman-Janiger have been studying killer whales for decades, and started working together after they met at a small marine mammal conference in 1987. Nancy started her Masters degree studying Pacific White-sided Dolphin, but started seeing killer whales while out on the water and wanted to find out everything she could about them. She started focusing on killer whales in the early 1990s. Alisa has been studying gray whales, humpback whales, and killer whales (started in 1979) for decades and focuses on sightings in southern California. They both have presented research at several conferences, talks, and have been filmed for many documentaries. They both co-authored the first California Killer Whale catalogue in 1997. Previous research has also included biopsy samples and tagging several whales in this population with our research partners to learn more about their movements, behaviors, and contaminant levels. Nancy keeps track of all killer whale sightings in Monterey Bay and up the coast. She communicates with several different research partners up North to coordinate sightings. Alisa keeps track of all killer whales sightings in the South and comes to Monterey in April and May every killer whale season. 

A special thank you to Andrea McCann for developing our amazing logo!
Nancy Black & Alisa Schulman-Janiger

One of our ongoing projects is an updated photo-ID catalogue. We plan to continue studying predation events, movement patterns, humpback whale and killer whale interactions, population size, and behaviors of the whales we see off California and collaborate on projects with scientists in the Pacific northwest. All of the research being conducted allows us to help asses the population size, their diet, and their social behaviors and in turn helps us work with other organizations to continue protecting this amazing species. Your support and donations help us to continue this incredible work!

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