June 15th, 2024

B.C. rescue team regroups after little orca thwarts capture in remote lagoon

By The Canadian Press on April 13, 2024.

The Ehattesaht First Nation deployed a canoe and other resources to try and rescue the orphaned orca, but were unsuccessful, at a lagoon near Zeballos, B.C., Friday, April 12, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

ZEBALLOS, B.C. – The team attempting to rescue an orphaned killer whale trapped in a remote B.C. lagoon is regrouping today after an initial attempt to capture the young orca failed.

Rescuers say the orca evaded capture during Friday’s initial attempt to corral her into the shallows of the lagoon with a net, place her in a sling and carry her to open waters.

Fisheries Department marine mammal co-ordinator Paul Cottrell says there was a huge effort to catch the calf but she’s “very smart” and they have to rethink their strategies.

He says rescuers including members of the Ehattesaht First Nation, Vancouver Aquarium staff and other experts aren’t giving up and remain optimistic, with the calf still in good health and swimming well.

The two-year-old calf has been alone in Little Espinosa Inlet, 450 kilometres northwest of Victoria, for three weeks since its pregnant mother was beached at low tide and died on March 23.

The two whales entered the lagoon last month by swimming through a narrow and fast-moving channel connecting it to the ocean.

Efforts to persuade the calf to swim back through the shallow channel proved futile.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2024.

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