Rescuers Save Stranded Killer Whale
A 20-foot-long killer whale was stranded on a rocky shore on Prince of Wales Island near the coast of British Columbia. Several good samaritans spotted the orca and pumped seawater on the animal to keep it cool and keep the birds away.
It appeared the whale was lodged in seaweed-covered rocks. A National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration official made it to the beach by early afternoon and asked people to stay away. “This animal is in a situation where it is exceedingly stressed,” said Julie Speegle, a NOAA spokeswoman. “The more humans nearby, the more it will be stressed.”
Speegle said the whale was vocalizing, whistling and making pulsing calls as more killer whales were spotted in the area. A group of British Columbia-based marine biologists were able to determine the whale was a 13-year-old juvenile.
Thanks to the rescuers’ efforts, they successfully kept the whale safe and cool, and it was able to swim back out to sea several hours after first being spotted. The tide rose high enough to refloat the whale around 3 p.m.
At least five other killer whales have been stranded around Prince of Wales over the last 20 years, and all survived. Whales are known to chase seals and sea lions towards the shore, and often get stuck when the tide goes out.
“They’ve all rejoined their families after stranding, and they’ve all gone on to survive and live normal, healthy lives,” said Jared Towers of Canada’s department of fisheries and oceans, which monitors whale movements.
Image source: NY Post