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Pacific Life Foundation

Marine Mammals Education, Conservation, and Research Efforts Supported by the Pacific Life Foundation

Major Focus Funding of Marine Environment Concerns:



 The Ocean Foundation ($2,348,716)
 In 2008, the Pacific Life Foundation created the Pacific Life Whale Research Fund with a $218,000 grant to The Ocean Foundation. By the end of 2015, over $2.3 million has been contributed to the Fund. The first grants were distributed from this Fund at the beginning of 2010, totaling $556,607. This funding went to support research that would yield specific results towards protecting some of the most highly endangered marine mammal species in North America, specifically the North Pacific Right Whale, Cook Inlet Beluga, and Vaquita Porpoise. In 2012, the Fund began providing multiyear grants to seven new research projects that are focused on providing a greater understanding of the humpback whales.

In addition, this Fund supports the Southern California Marine Mammal Workshop held at Pacific Life since 2009. The annual two-day workshop is a gathering of over 150 marine mammal researchers focused on fostering discussion and collaboration within the Southern California research community.

More information about the workshop can be found at .


 Aquarium of the Pacific: Voices in the Sea ($535,212)
Beginning in 2003, the Foundation funded the development and implementation of Whales: Voices in the Sea, an interactive exhibit that was unveiled in 2004 at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California. The exhibit is collaboration between the Aquarium of the Pacific, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the Pacific Life Foundation. The award-winning educational exhibit is housed in a large kiosk and is designed to educate aquarium visitors about the whales and porpoises by having them listen and learn about the sounds of the whales, watch videos of the marine mammals in their natural habitat, learn about conservation issues, and view recorded interviews with scientists. An online version of the exhibit was also developed and can be accessed at .

In 2012 & 2013, a Foundation grant of $200,000 supported the redesign and update of the entire exhibit and website, the creation of four new videos, as well as funding for the exhibit to be installed at two new aquariums. Currently, the exhibit is located in four aquariums around the country with a combined annual attendance of 6.8 million visitors. The venues include: Aquarium of the Pacific (Long Beach, CA), Birch Aquarium (La Jolla, CA), New England Aquarium (Boston), and Virginia Aquarium (Virginia Beach, VA). New exhibits will be placed in The Florida Aquarium (Tampa Bay, FL) and the Texas State Aquarium (Corpus Christi, TX) in 2016.


 Oregon State University/Marine Mammal Institute (A multiyear pledge of $477,000)
 In 2013, the Pacific Life Foundation made a multiyear pledge to The Marine Mammal Center at Oregon State University for their research project, titled Tracking Northeast Pacific Humpback Whales To Unravel Their Basin-Wide Movements. The focus of the project is on understanding the migratory route patterns as humpback whales move from the southeastern Alaska feeding areas to their mating areas in the Hawaiian Islands. The project aims to conduct new tagging efforts at the two ends of the migration (Alaska and Hawaii) that will allow the researchers to capture the entire migration of up to 80 whales (40 whales in 2014 and 40 whales in 2015). In addition to advancing scientific understanding of humpback whale biology, the results will be useful in assessing the overlap between whale migration routes and high-use areas with shipping lanes, fishing grounds, and zones of military operations in order to mitigate the impact from these activities. The Foundation pledge of $477,000 specifically funded the Alaska-related fieldwork efforts of the project.