May 26th, 2024

Planning next bid to rescue B.C. orca calf will take ‘few days’: Fisheries Department

By The Canadian Press on April 16, 2024.

Fisheries Department Pacific region marine mammal co-ordinator Paul Cottrell operates a zodiac with other experts as they conduct work in an area where an orphaned two-year-old female orca calf continues to live in a lagoon near Zeballos, B.C., on Thursday, April 11, 2024. The Department of Fisheries says planning for a new attempt to rescue an orca calf trapped in a Vancouver Island lagoon will be finalized in the next few days but no date has been set THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

ZEBALLOS, B.C. – The Department of Fisheries says planning for a new attempt to rescue an orca calf trapped in a Vancouver Island lagoon will be finalized in the next few days but no date has been set.

It says in a news release that any new attempt to capture and release the young whale will depend on weather and the availability of equipment and personnel.

An initial attempt to corral the whale in the shallows of the tidal lagoon failed on Friday, after she evaded capture by staying in deep parts of the tidal lagoon.

The whale has been trapped alone in the lagoon 450 kilometres northwest of Victoria since its mother became stranded and died more than three weeks ago.

Vancouver Aquarium veterinarian Martin Haulena, who has been involved in the rescue efforts, says its condition suggests the two-year-old calf could be foraging on fish in the lagoon.

Rescuers, who include members of the Ehattesaht First Nation, say a change in tactics may be needed, possibly including an attempt to net the whale in a deeper section of the lagoon.

Fisheries Department marine mammal co-ordinator Paul Cottrell said on Friday that would involve risks to both the calf and rescuers and needs careful planning.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2024.

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