"Objective Science for Conservation"






Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the Pacific WildLife Foundation?

The Pacific WildLife Foundation is a not-for-profit coastal and marine research and education society with charitable status registered in Canada, based in Port Moody, British Columbia. We conduct original scientific research on the biology of coastal and marine ecosystems and present information that will inspire conservation and appreciation of coastal and marine ecosystems based on a continually expanding data base of knowledge


What does the tag line ‘objective science for conservation’ mean?

We believe that conducting objective science is the best way to understand nature, and applying advice in innovative ways is the best way to inform society. We approach issues objectively and let the resulting data provide insights into decisions.


When was Pacific WildLife Foundation founded, by whom and for what purpose?

The origins of the Pacific WildLife Foundation are in the West Coast Whale Research Foundation (WCWRF) founded in 1980 to administer, support and conduct whale research and education programs. At that time, there were few similar research organizations in the world and none in British Columbia whose priority was the study of living whale populations. With generous public support, WCWRF met its mandate by contributing significantly to the first scientific descriptions of gray, humpback and killer whales in British Columbia and the North Pacific, and through education programs ranging from popular articles and books to the 1992 Gemini award winning documentary ‘Island of Whales’ narrated by Gregory Peck. Several prominent cetacean scientists operating in British Columbia today have their roots in the WCWRF. Prominent among them is Jim Darling whose pioneering research on whales was supported for many years by WCWRF. Rob Butler had been discussing with Tom Middleton the establishment of a non-profit organization devoted to marine research and in 2002 Rob approached Jim Darling for advice. At Jim’s suggestion, Rob, Jim, Tom, Ron Ydenberg, Dan Esler, Rod MacVicar, Rudi Kovanic, Gillian Darling and former WCWRF Board members Ian Semple and Kate Keogh began the transition of a new organization. In 2003, the WCWRF changed its name to Pacific WildLife Foundation to reflect a new and wider role.


Who runs the Pacific WildLife Foundation?

We are run by a Board of Directors comprising renowned scientists, educators, business people and communicators. Our Executive is Dr. Rob Butler (President), Dr. Ron Ydenberg (Vice-President) and Mr. Ian Semple (Secretary/Treasurer).


Who are the Fellows and Associates of the Pacific WildLife Foundation?

Our Fellows and Associates include highly qualified and renowned marine scientists, educators, and communicators.


Does Pacific WildLife offer grants for research or education projects?

We do not offer grants to the public. 


What are the sources of funding for Pacific WildLife?

Our funding comes from research and education grants, private donations, and legacies.


How much of the money raised by Pacific WildLife goes into research and education projects?

Pacific WildLife is run by a volunteer Board and Executive to keep the overhead costs low. The result is that nearly all the money we raise is used for the projects. Where allowed, we withhold 5 to 10% for administration and operations.


How much of the money raised by Pacific WildLife is used in fund raising?



With what other organizations does Pacific Wildlife work?

We work with research organizations at universities, governments, the not for profit and profit sectors. Several whale watching businesses have supported our whale research for years. You can see a list of our supporters on the web site. 


Can I become a member of the Pacific WildLife Foundation?

We do not have a membership. Associates and Fellows participate on projects of interest to Pacific WildLife for a defined term and by invitation from the Board of Directors.


Can I volunteer with Pacific WildLife?

We occasionally accept volunteers to help with specialized work. For example, volunteers have written for our web site, provided photographs and helped in the field. In most cases, volunteers are known to us and live near our office.


Where is your office?

Our office is at the Reed Point Marine Centre in Reed Point Marina, Port Moody, in the eastern end of Vancouver Harbour, British Columbia, Canada.


What is your address and email?

Pacific WildLife Foundation, Reed Point Marine Education Centre, Reed Point Marina, 850 Barnet Highway, Port Moody, British Columbia, V3H 1V6 Canada. Our email is contact (at) pwlf.org.


Are there any jobs at Pacific WildLife?

No. We have no employees.  


How can I support Pacific Wildlife?

There are many ways you can support us. Our supporters donate equipment, use of boats and moorage, fuel, funding and much more. You can make a donation online at CanadaHelps or by cheque.  


What would I receive by becoming a supporter of Pacific WildLife?

We respect your time and ask supporters to tell us how much or how little they want to receive from us. There are opportunities to join us on some field outings and research projects including expeditions. Of course there is also the understanding that your donations help us carry out our research and education projects.    


Is my donation tax deductible?

Donations to Pacific WildLife are tax deductible in Canada.


How can I get material for a school project?

We appreciate hearing from students and are delighted that you are interested in the ocean. However, as a non-profit organization that receives funds for mostly research, we do not have resources to provide to the many requests. Please feel free to make use of the information we have assembled on our web site.


What are the major achievements of the Pacific WildLife Foundation?

·        The Pacific WildLife Foundation (and its predecessor, the West Coast Whale Research Foundation) presented the first scientific descriptions of humpback, gray and killer whales in British Columbia. These projects drew public attention to whales over the years that grew into a thriving whale watching industry in British Columbia.

·        Whale identification catalogues begun by West Coast Whale are still being updated by us and by other researchers.

·        We were among the first to describe the summer foraging areas used by British Columbia gray whales.

·        We have documented the nesting sites of oystercatchers in the Strait of Georgia that led to protection of small islands in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, Canada.

·        Our research has shown how the presence of eagles can re-distribute its waterfowl prey.

·        Our eelgrass project has involved hundreds of citizens in transplanting shoots. 

·        Our collaborative projects with partners include the breeding bird atlas in which we have mapped coastal birds.

·        We are developing a marine bird and mammal atlas.

·        We have produced the first Important Cetacean Area program in the world.

·        You can read more by going to our projects page.


About the Foundation




Our Projects


The Pacific Ocean

Marine Mammals of the Pacific

Birds of the Pacific

Fish of the Pacific





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