April 24th, 2024

Killer whale rescue tactics could involve plan to lift orca calf out of lagoon

By The Canadian Press on March 28, 2024.

A killer whale and its calf are shown in a lagoon near Zeballos, B.C. in a handout photo. Experts are reconsidering their options on a rescue plan for the young killer whale trapped by the tide in a remote lagoon off Northern Vancouver Island. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jared Towers, Bay Cetology **MANDATORY CREDIT**

ZEBALLOS, B.C. – Experts are reconsidering their options on a rescue plan for the young killer whale trapped by the tide in a remote lagoon off Northern Vancouver Island.

Paul Cottrell, the marine mammal co-ordinator at the Fisheries Department, says they are thinking about changing tactics in efforts to convince the two-year-old calf to leave the shallow lagoon, depending on the animal’s health.

He says they have not ruled out attempting to put the calf in a sling and lifting it back to the open ocean.

The calf’s mother died in the lagoon on Saturday when the tide went out and a necropsy later determined she was pregnant.

Cottrell says drone footage shows that the calf, which can survive up to two weeks without food, appears to be healthy but is likely not eating on its own and is probably still partially depending on its mother for milk and food.

Ehattesaht First Nation Chief Simon John is part of the rescue team and says they want to see the calf in the ocean open to give it a chance to reconnect with other family members.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2024.

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