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

Speed carving event on Friday and Saturday in Memorial Park

Organizers are keeping event small, physically distanced and stocked with sanitizer

Mission man who nearly died from COVID-19 at Abbotsford hospital reflects on one-month battle

Robert Billyard was in an induced coma to ensure his body would not fight the ventilator to breathe

Lavender hand sanitizer sale raises cash for Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation

Golf course and lavender farm partner up to support health care in the Fraser Valley

UBC soccer star Victory Shumbusho offers one-on-one training for Chilliwack players

The Chilliwack FC grad believes players need more training to reach higher levels of soccer

Wings and Wheels fundraiser ready to roll in Abbotsford this weekend

Unique collection of cars invading Tradex for drive-thru experiences on Saturday and Sunday

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

35,000 doses of fentanyl part of huge Maple Ridge bust

Largest seizure in RCMP detachment’s history included submachine gun, body armour

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read