Splashy the humpback calf, first spotted on June 13, near Whaletown. (Photo by, Zoe Molder, Straitwatch / Cetus Research and Conservation)

Humpback calf named in honour of whale-loving B.C. girl who died of rare genetic disease

Splashy, often spotted near Cortes Island, was nicknamed after Miranda Friz’s beloved humpback stuffed toy

A humpback calf has a new name in honour of a B.C. girl’s love of whales and their preservation

“Splashy” was formally nicknamed and catalogued on July 20 by the Marine Education and Research Society (MERS) as a tribute to 15-year-old Port Moody girl, Miranda Lena Munro Friz, and her heartwarming efforts to conserve humpbacks even from beyond the grave.

Splashy was born this year and often spotted around Cortes Island, near Campbell River.

Friz died in April from fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva — a rare genetic disease that causes human connective tissue to turn into bone.

After her death, Friz’s parents wanted to donate the money in her personal savings account to charity. MERS received 50 per cent because Friz loved whales, especially humpbacks, and her parents were convinced that contributing towards research and care of these giant mammals was an idea their daughter would love, said her mom, Karen Munro..

“Miranda was a very intelligent girl and since a young age she was interested in whales, she read all the books she could and knew all about whale evolution and patterns of whale migration,” said Munro.

MERS biologist and marine educator Jackie Hildering said they wanted to name the calf “in honour of the young girl’s legacy and her fighter spirit.”

Friz had a beloved crocheted humpback stuffed toy named Splashy which she held onto even as a teenager, said her mother, who was touched upon hearing that MERS had named a humpback calf after it.

Humpbacks are often catalogued based on the distinctive features seen on their tails or dorsal fins. They are nicknamed based on these features for the “practical purpose” of identification and also for deeper purposes of conservation.

“An engaging name adds significant value to whale watching and allows people to connect with their giant neighbours as individuals, who they most likely see year after year,” said Hildering, adding this process helps humans better care and protect whales.

In Splashy’s case, Hildering said that there are some jagged ridges on the back, after the dorsal fin, that look like splashes.

The calf is the fourth baby born to Nick the humpback who was nicknamed and catalogued by MERS based on the distinctive notch on her dorsal fin. Splashy was first documented (spotted) by Straitwatch Quadra team (Cetus Research & Conservation Society) and Nancy Ponting on June 13.

People who document the whale are often given the honour of choosing a nickname for it. But when they heard about Friz and her stuffed toy, they too wanted the calf to be nicknamed Splashy,” said Hildering.

ALSO IN NEWS: Self-reported B.C. fish farm data showed 14 farms with violating levels of lice

EnvironmentWhales

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Okanagan highlanders dance in support of kids, food banks

A nationwide virtual dance-a-thon will garner donations for Food Bank Canada and Kids Help Phone

Central Okanagan residents invited to give input on regional transport plan

The plan will help Central Okanagan governments work together to connect people and places across the region

Okanagan set for thunderstorms before sunny weekend

Thunderstorms are predicted to give way to a hot, sunny weekend around Kelowna

Body of 21-year-old man found in Okanagan Lake

BC Coroners Service is investigating the circumstances of the man’s death

UBC Okanagan caps digital fees per course amid COVID-19

The UBCO student senate capped fees at $65 per class for the first winter term in 2020

Airlines dispute Dr. Henry’s claim they ‘very rarely’ give accurate COVID contact tracing info

Air Canada, WestJet say they provide names and contact information

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Alberta man’s body recovered from Okanagan Lake after five-day search

‘The depth of the water, as well as the topography of the lake, made the recovery of the deceased very challenging’ - RCMP

Masks urged for some students returning to Vernon schools

Phase two sees students return full-time Sept. 8

B.C. Appeal Court prevents Victoria woman from using the term ‘death midwife’ in her job

Pashta MaryMoon claimed she had been providing “death-care services” for more than 40 years

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

West Kelowna wildfire ‘under control’

B.C. Wildfire anticipates no further growth from the three-hectare fire

Abbotsford mom worried about her two kids in Beirut following explosion

Shelley Beyak’s children were abducted by their dad in 2018

Young Canadians, hospitality workers bear the brunt of mental strain in 2020: report

A study by Morneau Shepell points to economic uncertainty in the pandemic as the cause for angst

Most Read