Monday, January 14, 2013

Canada Orcas in Peril

You might have heard about the Orcas who were trapped in ice in Canada last week.  The story first broke when a video was captured by Clement Rousseau and posted all over social media.  Rousseau is a teacher from Inukjuak, Quebec, the small fishing village where the orcas were trapped.  The video went viral in both Canada and the US as advocates posted and shared to gain attention and assistance from the Canadian government.

There were anywhere from a dozen to 20 orca in this pod, all left with a pick-up truck sized hole to breathe for two days.  According to David Kirby, author of Death at SeaWorld, the whales usually are not in the bay at this time of year.  He says that climate change has changed the sea ice patterns this year.  The waters were still warm enough for the orcas to travel into the bay at Christmas, then a sudden drop in temperature caused the predicament for them.

In case you missed it, here's a clip that was shown on the Today Show.



By Thursday morning, the wind patterns had changed and the whales were gone.  While the media took this as good news, the experts were (and still are) skeptical.  There was 2 flights over the Hudson Bay on Thursday to try to identify the whales but they were nowhere to be found.  The flights showed that much of the bay is still covered in ice.  It will still be difficult, if not impossible, for these whales to survive.

Since orcas are matriarchal mammals, it is thought that the grandmother of the pod was able to identify an opening and lead them out into open waters.  Hopefully the fact that they haven't been seen is a good sign that they are well on their way out of the bay.  They are capable of traveling over 100 miles per day when in open waters.

This story has been compared to the true story that was retold in the movie Big Miracle.


In Big Miracle, the whales were trapped off of Alaska and were ultimately rescued by a Russian ship in the 80s.  President Reagan requested assistance from the Russian government to work together to free the whales.  The Canadian government stepped up to do what was necessary to free these orcas as well.  

What do you think about governments getting involved in rescuing these animals?  Is it just good PR for them or something more?  Does this situation prove global warming?

Some feel that it is best to let nature take its course.  My personal opinion mimics that of David Kirby.  Would you let nature take it's course if you were diagnosed with cancer or some other curable disease?

Don't forget to "Like" my Ocean Advocate Facebook page.  There are more frequent updates on stories like this, Taiji, Sea Shepherd and other marine mammal happenings.

2 comments:

  1. I really do hope the whales escaped.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am hoping they made it over the cuts in the ice to get out. :/

    ReplyDelete