Dr Ingrid Visser is an internationally acclaimed authority on orca, having established research projects and studied them all over the globe. She was the subject of the acclaimed BBC documentary, "The Woman Who Swims with Killer Whales", and is the founder and principal researcher of the Orca Research Trust whose mission is to protect orca and their habitat through conservation, education and scientific research.
Dr Visser is the only researcher specializing in orca in New Zealand waters.
Her research officially began in 1992, when she embarked on her life-long dream to study the orca. Since then she has worked with orca not only around New Zealand, but also in the waters of Antarctica, Argentina and Papua New Guinea. In Argentina, she is the co-founder of the Punta Norte Orca Research project.
Whilst travelling aboard eco-tourism ships or on private expeditions, she has also contributed to orca research projects in Washington, Alaska and British Columbia (all off the west coast of North America), the Kamchatka region of Russia, as well as Iceland (where she worked with the team releasing “Keiko”, the star of the Free Willy movies).
Her work has appeared in various magazines and on numerous documentaries. She has written children’s books, as well as an autobiography Swimming with Orca, which was a finalist in the 2005 NZ Montana Book Awards.
Since the tragic death of the trainer at SeaWorld in Florida in 2010, Ingrid has been actively speaking out for orca held in captivity and was a contributing scientist for the documentary Blackfish. She is a co-founder of the Free Morgan Foundation, working to raise awareness of a wild-born female orca, known as Morgan.
Dedicated to protecting the orca, Dr Visser believes in making science accessible for the general public, and as such she is often seen out in the community giving talks about these incredible apex predators.