L98 Tsu’xiit or Luna

Luna (September 19, 1999 – March 10, 2006) also known as L98 or Tsu’xiit, was a killer whale (orca) born in Puget Sound. After being separated from his mother while still young, Luna spent five years in Nootka Sound, off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Although Luna was healthy and his presence in the area delighted tourists and drew a large number of paparazzi, there were concerns that his behavior was endangering people. After years of debate, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans(DFO) authorized an effort in June 2004 to capture Luna and place him in captivity. However, the plan was ultimately thwarted by the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations, who claimed to believe Luna was a reincarnation of a former chief. It cannot be substantiated that a belief in reincarnation was ever a part of Mowachaht culture. The orca was killed by a tugboat in 2006. His story is told in the 2011 documentary film The Whale, the 2013 book The Lost Whale, and the 2016 podcast “Our Americana: Gold River, BC”.

I have drawn, painted, and carved since childhood, and art has come to be connected in a wonderful way to my other passion, natural history. Now, living and working on Salt Spring Island, I feel the last piece of the puzzle is in place.