A killer whale stranded off the coast of Alaska has survived thanks to some alert sailors. Water was poured over the animal for six hours, until the tide rose enough for it to swim away on its own.
It was Thursday morning when sailors suddenly discovered a tiny six-metre killer whale lying on the rocks of Prince of Wales Island. The US Coast Guard’s first call came at about 9 a.m. The animal was more than three feet above the waterline and the birds were already hovering nearby, waiting for an opportunity to attack.
Captain Chance Strickland and his crew docked quickly, drove off the birds and began pouring seawater on the animal, trying to keep it hydrated. The cold mist prevented him from overheating. Soon the other sailors came ashore with buckets to help.
Moments later, wildlife officials arrived and took charge. Six hours after the animal was first spotted, the sea water rose high enough to swim away again. “It moved a little bit slowly at first and then warmed up a bit,” said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an oceanographic agency. Then the animal swam away.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the young animal could have returned to its herd. According to experts, the orca may have been surprised by the tides when it was hunting seals and sea lions.
Stranded killer whales are at risk of overheating, crushing under their weight, or being attacked by bears or birds.
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