Updated: August 5, 2021 11:30:10 am
Thanks to a collective efforts of good Samaritans, an orca stranded on a rocky beach in Alaska was saved till rescue agencies arrived. Now, a touching video capturing their initiative is going viral and winning hearts online.
The 20-foot-long killer whale stuck in a crevice of rocks near Prince of Wales Island. When a few people on a trip nearby spotted the mammal, they plunged into action, watering it passing buckets filled with sea water.
Aroon Melane, who shared a video on TikTok and Instagram said the incident happened when she was on a trip with her two friends. The video showed showing people helping keep the orca wet initially dousing it with buckets of water, later using a water pipe to directly pump water from the sea.
The Samaritans were authorised by wildlife agency to use a seawater pump to keep the whale wet and any birds or animals away, she added. She said after being stranded for nearly six hours it was able to swim free once the tide returned.
The orca was later identified as a 13-year-old juvenile Bigg’s killer whale, by Canadian conservationist group Bay Cetology.
Along with Melane and friends on the ground, sailors on a nearby vessel, the Steadfast, discovered the beached Bigg’s killer whale and kept an eye on the marine mammal until Alaska Wildlife Troopers and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officer arrived on the scene, according to CNN.
Chance Strickland, the captain of a private yacht, who also joined the efforts told The New York Times that the orca was calling out to killer whales swimming in the area. “There were tears coming out of its eyes,” he said. “It was pretty sad.” Strickland said they left the island after wildlife officials came to relieve him and and others who were helping the mammal.
“It moved a bit slowly at first, and meandered around a little before swimming away,” NOAA spokesperson Julie Fair said in a statement. The NOAA also examined photos and videos of the stranded animal to determine if it suffered any injuries.
According to a report by The Guardian, “The agency said it was awaiting confirmation that the orca, which officials say is a juvenile from the west coast’s transient population of Bigg’s killer whales, and named T146D for classification and tracking purposes, had rejoined its pod.”
The incident happened a day after an 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck off the Alaskan coast, briefly triggering a tsunami warning, which left Melane and other locals wonder it it caused the whale to beach. However, NOAA spokesperson said “the event was not a factor.”
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