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

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

This woman is one of two people the Agassiz RCMP are asking for assistance in identifying after a string of alleged thefts in Popkum. (Agassiz RCMP)
Agassiz RCMP ask for help to identify suspects in Popkum thefts

Images of the two suspects were captured on surveillance footage between Jan. 10 and 16

Only students who are attending in-person classes will be asked to take the Foundation Skills Assessment this year in the Fraser Cascade School District. (Unsplash)
Foundation Skills Assessment only for in-person learners: SD78

The provincial assessment will take place between Feb. 15 and March 12 for grades 4 and 7

Abbotsford’s Tradex has been transformed into a volleyball and basketball facility with Open Court. (Instagram photo)
Abbotsford’s Tradex transforms into sports facility

Open Court program hosting volleyball and basketball teams for practices and possibly games

Map of COVID-19 cases for Jan. 10 to 16 by local health area. (BCCDC)
Agassiz, Harrison COVID-19 cases heading back towards weekly normal

The area saw 10 new cases between Jan. 10 and 16, after a one week high of 19

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Most Read