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About Us

California Killer Whale Project (CKWP) is a newly established 501(c)(3) non-profit 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 & Alisa Schulman-Janiger

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 Master's 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 1990's.  Alisa has been studying gray whales, humpback whales, and killer whales since 1979, 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.

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 assess 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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Meet the unique group of scientists and orca enthusiasts that work for California Killer Whale Project

Learn more about our research and data collection.

Find out what we hope to gain and share with the community through this nonprofit organization. 

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