Luna the killer whale, who's been alone in Vancouver Island's Nootka Sound since 2001, could reunite with his family on his own soon — but it will take some lucky breaks.

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VICTORIA, B.C. — Luna the killer whale, who’s been alone in Vancouver Island’s Nootka Sound since 2001, could reunite with his family on his own soon — but it will take some lucky breaks.


“Everyone likes to get their hopes up,” said Marilyn Joyce, marine mammal coordinator for Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans.


“The chances are remote, but miracles could happen and we all hope for them,” she said.


Members of L-pod, Luna’s relatives who spend the summer in waters off Washington state’s San Juan Islands, were spotted early this month near Bamfield on the west coast of Vancouver Island.


Luna watchers hope that means they’ll swim past the entrance to Nootka Sound, about 70 miles to the north and also on the island’s west coast. Luna has lived on his own in the sound, a miles-long, twisty body of water, for almost 31/2 years.


L-pod would have to be vocalizing as it passed the entrance to Nootka Sound, and Luna would have to be close enough to the entrance to hear them. Luna, a pet name for the animal scientists call L-98 for his birth order in L-pod, usually hangs out farther inland.


The government has no plans now to try to lead Luna to the entrance with a boat, but it could happen, Joyce said.


In 2002, the U.S. and Canadian governments successfully reunited a Canadian orca, A-73 or Springer, with her family after her mother died and she wandered into busy Puget Sound. She had only been separated from Canada’s A-pod for a period of months.