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Published April 1, 2024

Rescuers look for improved tides this week in effort to save orphaned B.C. whale

Orphaned calf stranded in Vancouver Island lagoon
Rescuers look for improved tides this week in effort to save orphaned B.C. whale

The tides are expected to be more promising this week in the northern Vancouver Island lagoon, where an orphaned orca so far can’t be convinced to leave.

Work to coax the two−year−old Bigg’s killer whale over a sandbar and into the open ocean started after its mother died more than a week ago when she beached at the lagoon and could not be saved.

Low tide in the remote location off the northwest tip of Vancouver Island forced rescuers to pause their efforts over the weekend.

Methods tried include recorded whale calls, specialized directional guide lines, the pounding of Indigenous drum beats, and metal pipes in the water struck to create a "sound wall," but the young animal has not left. 

The B.C.−based whale research group Bay Cetology is hoping tour operators, naturalists, and photographers in the area will submit photos of Bigg’s killer whales to its AI data hub to track the calf’s relatives and help with the eventual reunification.

The Ehattesaht First Nation has given the young calf a name: kwiisahi?is, meaning Brave Little Hunter.

banner image: the Canadian Press

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