The name, Kakantu, given to this individual of the species giant Pacific octopus, was chosen by the winning bidder at the 2023 PTMSC Auction fundraiser. The name comes from the Klallam language and has two meanings, according to the Klallam Dictionary1. The first is the name of a girl in a story told by Amy Allen who is the grandmother of the current Tribal Council Chairman of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Ron Allen. In the story, the girl, Kakantu, fell in love with a blackfish [orca] and went to live with him. The second meaning of the word is the area around the Point Wilson Lighthouse spit. This name was approved by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. You can learn more about the Klallam language, spoken on the North shores of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula since time immemorial at klallamlanguage.org.
As Kakantu has gotten older, and is moving around more, the Aquarium staff were able to see its hectocotylus arm to determine that it’s a male. If you’d like to learn more about how the giant Pacific octopus mates, check out this article at The Marine Detective website.
You can visit Kakantu and all the animals in the Aquarium, as well as the exhibits in the Museum, at our location at Fort Worden State Park. The Aquarium is open through Thanksgiving weekend of 2023, before closing for the cold winter months. The Museum stays open throughout the year. Find our open hours and more information here.
1Timothy Montler, Klallam Dictionary, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2012).