Killer Whale Stranded for Weeks Finally Rescued

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A juvenile killer whale named Sam has finally been rescued after becoming stranded in remote Weeteeam Bay on the coast of British Columbia, Canada, according to CBC News.

Sam entered the bay through its shallow and narrow entrance, but apparently was unwilling to exit the same way on his own. After scientists from the Vancouver Aquarium and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans found him, their first strategy was simply to keep an eye on him, hoping that he eventually would manage to leave on his own. After several weeks, however, Sam was still in the bay, crying for his mother.

Next, scientists tried to coax the orca out of the bay by playing recorded calls from other killer whales. The calls were able to get Sam's attention, but he still was too nervous to negotiate the bay's narrow entrance again.

Last week, after noticing signs of malnutrition and weight loss in Sam, the scientists finally chose a more proactive strategy for removing Sam from the bay. The team used the recorded whale calls to lure Sam again, but this time they also employed a floating tow line to help Sam through the bay's entrance. It worked. According to Lance Barrett-Lennard, director of the Vancouver Aquarium's marine mammal research program, Sam popped out of the entrance "like a cork."

Sam swam out to sea, seemingly safe. Barrett-Lennard is remaining in the area for a few days to watch over him.


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