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Orca calf trapped in Canadian lagoon swims to freedom

By AFP

April 27, 2024 10:27 PM


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An orphaned killer whale calf that had been trapped for weeks in a tidal lagoon on Vancouver island, dodging multiple rescue attempts, on Friday swam out on her own, a local Indigenous tribe said.

The Ehattesaht First Nation had watched over the orca calf they named Brave Little Hunter after her pregnant mother died on a rocky beach in late March.

They, along with fisheries officials, made several unsuccessful attempts to catch and release her in open waters.

Attempts reportedly included using a sling to transport her, playing recorded killer whale vocalizations to lure her out of the remote lagoon, and even serenading her with violin music.

Then suddenly at 2:30 am local time Friday, during high tide on a starry night, she "swam past the sand bar her mother passed away on, under the bridge, down Little Espinosa Inlet and onto Esperanza (Inlet) all on her own," the Ehattesaht First Nation said in a statement.

A small group watched her go, it said, after being treated to "a long night of (her) breaching and playing."

The team later caught up with the orca calf in Esperanza Inlet, hoping to "encourage her out toward the open ocean where it is hoped that the Brave Little Hunter's calls will be heard by her family."

Although there has been tremendous public interest in the little whale's plight and efforts to save her, authorities asked everyone now to stay clear of the area and the whale itself in order to facilitate her reunion with kin.


AFP


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