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Surface scenes from "Rubbing Beach Camera" now available!
Here's a message from Dr. Paul Spong.
Please enjoy new images from RB-CAM!

We are pleased to announce that we are now ready to include surface scenes from the "rubbing beaches" inside the Robson Bight Michael Bigg Ecological Reserve among the other sights and sounds we bring to the world via Orca-live.
The imagery will come from two cameras. One of the cameras, which can be controlled by us remotely, will show scenes from the "Main" rubbing beach. The other camera will show a fixed wide-angle view of a nearby rubbing beach known as "1.5". We can monitor and display just one camera at a time. In addition to the cameras, we have installed a microphone which allows us to listen to the "blows" of the orcas when they are using the Main beach. Of course, we already have a hydrophone at the Main beach which allows us to hear the sounds made by the orcas underwater.

From a "research" point of view, we believe the mix of sounds and imagery will bring us valuable insights into the way the orcas use the rubbing beaches. From a "public" point of view we also believe that bringing this experience to the world will assist the wider understanding of orcas and the need to protect their special places and vital habitats. The Ecological Reserve at Robson Bight is one of these places, and within it the rubbing beaches have a very special place in the lives of the orcas. That is why the Reserve was created, and why the governments of Canada and British Columbia go out of their way to manage human activities within it

Canada's federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans controls access to the Reserve by commercial fishermen. The government of British Columbia, through its agency B.C. Parks, has for many years operated a "Warden" programme during the summer months that has the objective of educating the public and keeping casual boating traffic from entering the Reserve. No one is permitted to operate a recreational vessel within the Reserve or to land or camp on the shoreline of the Reserve. The only permitted activities are those of commercial fishermen who are allowed to catch fish in the Reserve during the salmon fishing season which runs from July through November. You will see these fishermen at work from time to time. Their activities are "normal" and legal and should not be misunderstood as intrusions.

Our rubbing beaches camera system, as well as the hydrophones we maintain within the Reserve have been installed with the cooperation of B.C. Parks and are operated under permit. We regard this permission as giving us a great opportunity to gather invaluable data in a non-intrusive manner, and we make every effort to ensure that our activities (system installation and maintenance) do not interfere with the orcas in any way.

We sincerely hope that in sharing what we are observing and experiencing at the rubbing beaches we will be helping to protect the orcas and a vital part of their habitat. We also hope that by revealing the orcas' activities at the rubbing beaches in such intimate detail we will help ensure that the government of British Columbia continues to fund the "Warden" programme operated by B.C.
Parks - this programme is essential to the protection of the orcas that use the Johnstone Strait "core area".

Dr. Paul Spong
We await your thoughts and impressions.
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