Courtesy of Chance Strickland and the crew of M / V Steadfast / NOAA
The beached killer whale on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska. Source: Captain Chance Strickland and crew of M / V Steadfast via NOAA.
An orca that washed up on a rocky beach on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska on Thursday morning was freed with the help of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and sailors who were were nearby.
The stranded killer whale was first discovered on the rocks by a nearby ship, the Steadfast, according to NOAA, which “allowed them to use a seawater pump to keep the whale moist and the birds at bay” NOAA spokeswoman Julie Fair told CNN.
The ship’s crew kept an eye on the whale until an officer from the NOAA and Alaska Wildlife Troopers arrived.
“Sometimes during the grounding, the killer whale vocalized and other killer whales were seen nearby,” Fair said.
Courtesy of Aroon Melane
The orca stranded.
The killer whale was finally refloated as high tide arrived Thursday afternoon, according to NOAA. Bay Cetology, a Canadian conservation group, was able to determine that this was a Juvenile 13-year-old Bigg’s Killer Whale they previously watched and identified as T146D.
Fair said NOAA is examining photos and video of the killer whale to determine if it was injured. The animal stranded less than a day after a magnitude 8.2 earthquake off the coast of Alaska, but NOAA does not believe that caused the killer whale stranding.
A TikTok user named Aroon Melane shared a video showing people helping to keep the killer whale wet until NOAA arrived and said the whale was able to swim freely once the tide returned.
“We heard there was a stranded killer whale so we went to find it. NOAA has given permission to keep the killer whale moist and protected from animals until it can arrive, ”says Melane in the video. “We were working on getting a hose and a pump to work. In the meantime, we used buckets to keep the killer whale moist. The killer whale began to come alive after putting water on it.
Courtesy of Aroon Melane
People who help the stranded killer whale.
The killer whale was stuck for about six hours, she added.
This is not the first time that a Bigg’s Killer Whale has gotten stuck on rocks, according to Bay Cetology.
“Our research on this specific topic published last year shows that all of the killer whales living stranded along the west coast of North America over the past 2 decades have been of the Bigg ecotype and all have survived. sometimes with a little help, ”he added. the conservation group said.
Transient killer whales hunt sea lions, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. They can often find themselves stranded alive “in pursuit of prey,” according to a research study by Bay Cetology, adding that while human help is not always needed, it can often save killer whales as well. than their family ties.
It is not known how the orca got stranded or if it was hunting seals when it got stuck.