April 24th, 2024

B.C. orca calf rescue team considers changing tactics to save stranded whale: DFO

By The Canadian Press on March 27, 2024.

A killer whale and its calf are shown in a lagoon near Zeballos, B.C., in a handout photo. A marine scientist says he expects rescue efforts to help coax a stranded killer whale calf from a shallow lagoon off northern Vancouver Island into the open ocean to continue today despite federal Fisheries Department concerns about limited opportunities due to changing tidal flows. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jared Towers, Bay Cetology **MANDATORY CREDIT**

ZEBALLOS, B.C. – A Fisheries Department official says a rescue team working to coax a stranded killer whale calf from a lagoon off northern Vancouver Island is prepared to change tactics to save its life, including lifting the orca out to the open ocean.

Paul Cottrell, the department’s marine mammal co-ordinator, says they will consider all contingencies over the coming days after a team of experts and First Nations members failed to get the two-year-old to leave the lagoon.

At a news conference with local First Nations leaders, Cottrell said they won’t rule out placing the orca in a sling-type device and hoisting it to the open ocean.

Several attempts have been made to get the calf to leave the area after its pregnant mother died in the lagoon Saturday when she was stranded by the low tide.

Ehattesaht First Nation Chief Simon John says he expects rescue team members will resume their efforts Thursday to help the calf into the open ocean where it’s hoped it will reunite with family members.

A necropsy of the mother orca, a 15-year-old Bigg’s killer whale, showed she was pregnant when she died.

“My real concern is that whale gets out of the lagoon safely and reunites with its pod,” John said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 27, 2024.

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