Human chain of 150 volunteers guide 40 stranded pilot whales back to sea

Nina Hindmarsh and Skara Bohny22:19, Feb 22 2021

Volunteer Petra Juric of Nelson attends to a juvenile Pilot Whale, one of the 49 that were stranded.
BRADEN FASTIER/STUFFVolunteer Petra Juric of Nelson attends to a juvenile Pilot Whale, one of the 49 that were stranded.

A human chain made up of around 150 volunteers is guiding a pod of whales back out to sea in chest-deep water, after successfully re-floating them at high tide.

Roughly 38 of the 49 long-finned pilot whales that stranded Monday morning at Farewell Spit were encircled by the human chain from 6.30 pm, after being re-grouped by the volunteers.

As the high tide came in and the sun began to set behind the mountains, volunteers wearing wetsuits sat in seawater up to their necks and held the whales to stop them from swimming away.

Some were getting frisky and thrashing about, while baby whales darted around volunteers in the water, looking for their parents and family members.

READ MORE:
Volunteers on high alert after pilot whale calf washes up on Christchurch beach
Dead whale towed to Farewell Spit tidal flats to decompose
Project Jonah helps volunteers prepare for strandings in Taranaki

Some volunteers had been with their whales for up to six hours, dousing them in buckets of water, digging holes around them to fill up with water, and covering them in wet sheets and towels.

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At 7.30 pm, the human chain was still slowly leading the whales back out to sea.

Department of Conservation whale stranding operations manager, Darren Foxwell, said first they had to re-float the animals and let them get their balance back.https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.444.1_en.html#goog_1189197759PauseUnmuteCurrent Time 0:31/Duration 1:17Loaded: 64.27% FullscreenNINA HINDMARSH/STUFFVolunteers are working to keep stranded whales alive until they can refloat them at high tide at Farewell Spit Whale.

“So they re-orientate, and we keep them together, otherwise there’s a risk of re-stranding if they take off on their own. 

“Then we let them go as a pod when they’ve all re-floated, and fingers crossed, they take off out to sea and don’t re-strand overnight.”

Foxwell said a local tour operator had discovered the 49 long finned pilot whales stranded at about 9.30am.

The scene was about 1.5 kilometres from the DOC carpark at the base of the spit.

“Volunteers started trickling in, and we’ve got enough for this part of the operation,” Foxwell said.

As the high tide came in on Monday evening, roughly 38 of the 49 long-finned pilot whales that had been stranded were encircled by the human chain, after being re-grouped by the volunteers.
NINA HINDMARSH/STUFFAs the high tide came in on Monday evening, roughly 38 of the 49 long-finned pilot whales that had been stranded were encircled by the human chain, after being re-grouped by the volunteers.

Foxwell said there was “rough, unofficial count” of 10 dead whales so far.

“But none have died since we’ve been here.” 

“Quite often, it might be one animal that is injured, and one of the theories is that it holds the other animals in, the tide goes out, and they get stranded.”

There were “no large adult whales [stranded] here, not like there can be”, Foxwell said.

“At high tide, we hope to have these guys refloated, orientated, and swimming out towards Separation Point.”

About 2pm, a woman who was standing close to the rear of one of the largest whales was struck repeatedly by its tail, when the animal began flapping violently in distress, breaking her ankle.

Some were getting frisky and thrashing about, while baby whales darted around volunteers in the water, looking for their parents and family members.
NINA HINDMARSH/STUFFSome were getting frisky and thrashing about, while baby whales darted around volunteers in the water, looking for their parents and family members.

The volunteer was seen crawling away and clutching her ankle, with others rushing to help, including a doctor who was also helping at the scene. 

She was driven to the base of the spit and treated by an ambulance crew.

Following the incident, DOC staff were walking around reminding volunteers to keep a safe distance from the whales, and to remember that they were “still wild animals”.

Puponga resident and volunteer, Carolina Brejchova, was caring for six whales at the site. 

65 volunteers are working to save the surviving whales after 49 stranded at Farewell Spit.
NINA HINDMARSH65 volunteers are working to save the surviving whales after 49 stranded at Farewell Spit.

“I’m just doing what I can, it’s not something I’ve done before and it’s not how I hoped to see whales. I just hope we can help them live and survive.”

Brejchova was caring for a baby whale “crying and communicating” to a larger one just a short distance away.

“There’s some sort of a bond between them, they are calling out to each other. It’s very sad.

“But as sad as it is, this kind of thing also brings people together.”

Auckland holidaymaker, Anna Taylor, was walking along the spit around lunchtime with her husband, when they saw groups of people arriving carrying buckets, bags and towels.

By 3pm seven of the 49 stranded long-finned pilot whales had died. Volunteers hope to refloat survivors at high tide at around 7pm.
NINA HINDMARSHBy 3pm seven of the 49 stranded long-finned pilot whales had died. Volunteers hope to refloat survivors at high tide at around 7pm.

“We thought it might be a stranding, so we just walked towards everyone, and used our towels [on the whales].”

It was her first whale stranding.

Taylor said they had just flipped a whale on its side. 

“Apparently they have no chance of survival if they’re on their sides, so we dug a hole and flipped it over. We just kind of dug and lots of water came up around it, which is good, but he’s blistering a bit on the tail, so we’re desperately putting our towels on and dousing it in water.”

“The baby ones are making lots of noise, it’s very sad. A few of them unfortunately, it’s too late.”

The volunteers at the scene included 50 Project Jonah trained marine mammal medics, who have completed the Project Jonah whale first-aid course.

22022021. News. Photo Nina Hindmarsh / Stuff
49 pilot whales have stranded at Farewell Spit, in Golden Bay, in February 2021.
NINA HINDMARSH/STUFF22022021. News. Photo Nina Hindmarsh / Stuff 49 pilot whales have stranded at Farewell Spit, in Golden Bay, in February 2021.

Project Jonah communications and volunteer co-ordinator Louisa Hawkes said the main concern for whales was overheating, because the whales were black, which attracted the heat, and they were covered in a layer of blubber.

“The priority is keeping them cool and wet.”

Temperatures were forecast to reach a high of 22.

Hawkes said anyone intending to help at the stranding should be prepared for the remote location and conditions. Project Jonah has a specific page of instructions for strandings in Golden Bay due to the high frequency of events in the area.

The last mass stranding at Farewell Spit was in 2017, when an estimated 600-700 whales stranded. About 400 were successfully re-floated, but approximately 250 died.

Dogs rescued after being caught in animal traps in frigid stream

This ad will end in 1 secondsDogs rescued after being caught in animal traps in frigid stream

By: Michele Newell, WPXI-TV
Updated: January 13, 2021 – 10:33 PM

DONEGAL, Pa. — Daniel Bogey said if he hadn’t shown up, two dogs would likely be dead.

“Heard this awful howling and yelping, and I thought it was a pack of coyotes,” he said.

He said he made a last-minute decision to check one of his properties in Donegal when he came across two dogs stuck in animal traps in the middle of a frigid, fast-moving stream.Content Continues Below

“That water was freezing cold. You wouldn’t even want to stand in it. That dog was probably in that water for well over an hour,” Bogey said.

He immediately called state police troopers.

“We were able to get the dog out of the trap and at least get him on the other side of the creek,” Bogey said. “The state trooper actually was able to pick him up. He went in with his uniform. He didn’t care.”

It took nearly three hours to get the dogs to safety. They were able to put blankets over them to help them start warming up.

Bogey said he found multiple traps that weren’t supposed to be there because it is private property. He confronted the person who put them there.

“He’s doing good now. He had his first meal. So he will get better,” Bogey said of one of the dogs.

A friend is caring for one of the dogs. The other one walked off after being rescued.

CLICK HERE if you want to donate to help with medical expenses for the rescued dogs.


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Sri Lanka rescues 100 beached whales after mass stranding

By Rob Picheta and Sandi Sidhu, CNN

Updated 10:41 AM ET, Tue November 3, 2020

See rescuers save huge group of whales after mass stranding

See rescuers save huge group of whales after mass stranding 01:13

(CNN)Sri Lankan rescuers have returned 100 whales to sea after a mass beaching on Monday, the country’s navy has said.Scores of short-finned pilot whales began coming ashore at Panadura, 25 kilometers (15 miles) south of Colombo, on Monday afternoon, and authorities were mobilized to help them back to sea.Locals joined officials from Sri Lanka’s navy and coast guard in tending to the whales.Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) told AFP news agency that it was the largest single pod of whales stranded in the South Asian country.A dead pilot whale on a beach on Sri Lanka's western coast after the mass stranding.A dead pilot whale on a beach on Sri Lanka’s western coast after the mass stranding.”It is very unusual for such a large number to reach our shores,” MEPA chief Dharshani Lahandapura told AFP, adding that the cause of the stranding was not known.Rescue teams worked through the night with assistance from the navy, coast guard, lifeguards, and residents.

Australian officials are racing to save hundreds of stranded pilot whales. A third have already died

Australian officials are racing to save hundreds of stranded pilot whales. A third have already died“On the request of Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne, Jet skis provided by a local water sports club were utilized to pull the whales back into the ocean throughout the day and night,” the Sri Lanka Navy statement said.close dialog

Do you want the news summarized each morning?We’ve got you.Sign Me UpBy subscribing you agree to ourprivacy policy.The death of four whales is being investigated. The navy said that the whales might have followed one whale off course and become stranded.In September, nearly 500 whales beached in Tasmania, Australia, in that state’s largest ever beaching. At least a third died during rescue attempts.Whales are highly social animals and travel in pods, but the causes of mass strandings are not clear.

WATCH: Bear cub with head stuck in bucket rescued in northern Ontario


Jenny YuenMore from Jenny Yuen

Published:July 20, 2020

Updated:July 20, 2020 3:19 PM EDT

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Residents see a lot of bears in northern Ontario, but Trevor Buchmann said it’s not every day you see a black bear cub with a red bucket on its head.

Even rarer is when you see that cub climb a tree and get stuck there.

Buchmann, 46, lives in Kenogami — about 15 kilometres west of Kirkland Lake and not far from the county dump. He says people had seen black bear cubs with their mother there earlier this year, but on Sunday, he had a direct encounter with one of the cubs that found itself in a serious pickle.https://www.youtube.com/embed/4uXCBiSBvtQ?rel=1&controls=1&autoplay=0&modestbranding=1&embed_config=%7B%22autonavRelatedVideos%22%3Atrue%2C%22relatedChannels%22%3A%5B%22EFneExC3GZeiVztRuRRe0w%22%2C%22OXbUmGfpr_rb_UeqROTwkg%22%2C%22Vu_SlTS4SNNUAIkCmSDzMQ%22%2C%22qNPpzfFRh29-ULwkF0ys0w%22%2C%22RROHNHB3JN8JxKST9xl_og%22%2C%22iiiXY1ue6nb7iqY8o8f62w%22%2C%22N9gPUr8QTM6RkHdKThDmQQ%22%2C%22Z1-u3qX7AUUPzH9O_Peb-Q%22%2C%22kjNuLzfw5Ep7EJuMdeFylw%22%2C%22YuLCUHAoN1fs3pZi3WPRnA%22%2C%22Vyik4cnxEmbefInU7JnWyw%22%2C%22rbOGpnOudmETQ0WZkyvD8g%22%2C%22jmGwjC7pytqz8vvL5lIuxA%22%2C%22HmA32WCmlUp9ZUF_clAPHg%22%2C%22zFyTrFm5aM-342rJsjBbXw%22%2C%22UCakXkuN4Z3Jnwf5aOay9ytw%22%5D%7D&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Ftorontosun.com&widgetid=2

The bear had first been spotted July 15, about 5 km from his home with a pail on its head. Buchmann suspects the mother abandoned the cub after being unable to remove the pail.

“The cub likely picked it up at the dump,” he said Monday, “and worked his way through the bush. We think it may have been the container for protein powder.”

“We’d heard reports since then about this bear cub,” he said. “(Sunday), we were doing some work on our guest cottage and my daughter was sitting on the deck and she said, ‘What’s that on the tree?’ I thought it might be a fisher or marten or even a cat, and I looked over and saw the big red bucket on its head.https://www.youtube.com/embed/I9SEv5Nyzrc?rel=1&controls=1&autoplay=0&modestbranding=1&embed_config=%7B%22autonavRelatedVideos%22%3Atrue%2C%22relatedChannels%22%3A%5B%22EFneExC3GZeiVztRuRRe0w%22%2C%22OXbUmGfpr_rb_UeqROTwkg%22%2C%22Vu_SlTS4SNNUAIkCmSDzMQ%22%2C%22qNPpzfFRh29-ULwkF0ys0w%22%2C%22RROHNHB3JN8JxKST9xl_og%22%2C%22iiiXY1ue6nb7iqY8o8f62w%22%2C%22N9gPUr8QTM6RkHdKThDmQQ%22%2C%22Z1-u3qX7AUUPzH9O_Peb-Q%22%2C%22kjNuLzfw5Ep7EJuMdeFylw%22%2C%22YuLCUHAoN1fs3pZi3WPRnA%22%2C%22Vyik4cnxEmbefInU7JnWyw%22%2C%22rbOGpnOudmETQ0WZkyvD8g%22%2C%22jmGwjC7pytqz8vvL5lIuxA%22%2C%22HmA32WCmlUp9ZUF_clAPHg%22%2C%22zFyTrFm5aM-342rJsjBbXw%22%2C%22UCakXkuN4Z3Jnwf5aOay9ytw%22%5D%7D&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Ftorontosun.com&widgetid=3

“I ran to get into long-sleeve clothing and I tried to grab it and it went further up the tree. I went to the shop to get a pole I could use to loop around the bucket.”

A friend arrived after a call from Buchmann’s wife and he went up the tree trying to get the bear but the cub went up to the highest branch.”

Buchmann, his wife and daughter filmed the encounter and posted it to Facebook.

In the four-minute long video, Elder, wearing camouflage garb, is seen up the tree, holding a pole, which he eventually uses to gently knock the cub into Kenogami Lake. From there, Buchmann retrieves the animal from the water and the two men, using a blanket, remove the bucket from the bear’s head.

Buchmann said Elder’s aunt is a veterinarian who has conducted bear rescues in the past and gave the men step-by-step instructions over the phone.

The cub was safely put into a dog kennel and though it appeared shaken at first, eventually calms down when Buchmann feeds it some fruits.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry was called and the cub, which he’s nicknamed “Kenny,” was bound for the Bear With Us rescue centre outside Huntsville where it will stay over the fall and winter and be released next spring.

In another bear encounter video that surfaced over the weekend, three hikers remain very still while a black bear sniffs them out.https://www.instagram.com/p/CC1TUlmAdA3/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=12&wp=578&rd=https%3A%2F%2Ftorontosun.com&rp=%2Fnews%2Fprovincial%2Fwatch-bear-cub-with-head-stuck-in-bucket-rescued-in-northern-ontario#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A22421.445000043605%7D

Reported to have been taken at Chipinque Ecological Park in Mexico, the video shows the black bear up on its hind legs while one of the women can be seen stretching out her arm to take a photo with the wild animal.

The clip has had millions of views since being shared on social media.

jyuen@postmedia.comCommentsShare your thoughts

Two bear cubs rescued in Sudbury after mom is killed by a vehicle

Darren MacDonaldCTV News Northern Ontario Digital Content Producer

@Darrenmacd ContactPublished Thursday, July 16, 2020 2:19PM EDTLast Updated Thursday, July 16, 2020 6:59PM EDT

bear cubs

The cubs were tranquilized and trapped so they could be safely transported to Bear With Us Centre for Bears, where they will be cared for and released next year. (Supplied)

SUDBURY — Two bear cubs have been taken to an animal sanctuary after their mother was killed by a vehicle in the Sudbury community of Garson last week.

A social media post by the city on Thursday said after their mom was killed, the two cubs scrambled up a tree in a nearby park.

“City parks staff spotted the cubs and called in Greater Sudbury Police and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to help,” the city said. “These two beautiful cubs are in safe hands today after a frightening and tragic ordeal.”

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The cubs were tranquilized and trapped so they could be safely transported to Bear With Us Centre for Bears, where they will be cared for and released next year.

A photo of the snoozing little bruins after they were captured and also posted on social media by the city.

“Thanks to everyone who helped give these two cubs a safe and happy outcome!” the city said. 

Brockton Animal Control officer rescues mother skunk from rat trap


BROCKTON, MASS. (WHDH) – A Brockton Animal Control officer rushed to the rescue of a mother skunk that got its foot stuck in a rat trap.

The officer was able to wrangle the animal on and release its foot and determine its injuries were minor.

The skunk was released back into the wild to be with her babies.

“The main goal of Animal Control is to help animals, domestic or wild, we do as much as we can to assist the public with any type of animal situation. This is just one of the many situations that may occur on our watch and we are happy to help,” the department wrote in a post on Facebook.

 

(Copyright (c) 2020 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Oldest Known King Eider Found 23 Years After Oil Spill Care

Oldest Known King Eider Found 23 Years After Oil Spill Care

December 20, 2019

Male King Eiders are super colorful sea ducks commonly found in the Arctic waters of the Bering Sea.. CC photo by Ron Knight

A new bird banding report shows something truly remarkable: the oldest known King Eider – a species of sea duck – was a 24-year-old oil spill survivor cared for by International Bird Rescue. This finding proves once again that rehabilitated, formerly-oiled birds can survive many years after treatment and release back to the wild.

The latest discovery involves a male King Eider that was oiled as an adult during an oil spill in Alaska in 1996. The recovered bird survived 23 years after oiling and release, and according to federal banding information, this may well be the oldest known King Eider.

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Bird Banding Lab, which administers the scientific banding or ringing of wild birds in the U.S., the previously oldest recorded King Eider was an unoiled female that was at least 22 years 1 month old when she was recaptured and re-released during banding operations in Nunavut, Canada.

In 1996 rescued King Eiders were cleaned of oil after being flown to Anchorage from the Pribilof Islands. Photo © International Bird Rescue

This important news underscores what Bird Rescue has been advocating from its beginnings: oiled birds can and DO survive to live normal lives when rehabilitated after oiling, with appropriate resources and skilled staff. This is especially true when wildlife experts follow the protocols that have been refined over our nearly 50-year history.

Watch the video: Every Release Matters

“Bird Rescue has developed and remains at the forefront of the State of the Science for oiled wildlife treatment and rehabilitation,’ said Catherine Berg, NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator for Alaska. At the time of the spill, Berg was the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Oil Spill Coordinator for Alaska.

“Seeing this kind of evidence of rehabilitated bird survival is truly a tribute to their dedication to the advancement of the science and to improving the care of injured birds.” Berg added.

The long-lived eider is also a testament to both Bird Rescue’s and the State of Alaska’s commitment to the successful concept of having a centralized response center to care for affected wildlife, rather than attempting the care and cleaning of animals in a remote, inaccessible location. All the birds from this spill were transported from a remote island for care in a centralized facility run by Bird Rescue in Anchorage.

The long-lived King Eider carried the Federal Band #1347-54950.

The reported King Eider was originally oiled during the M/V Citrus Oil Spill that began in mid-February 1996 in Alaska’s Pribilof Islands around St. Paul Island in the Bering Sea, approximately 300 miles from the nearest mainland, and 750 miles from Anchorage. One hundred eighty-six birds, mainly eiders, were rescued near St. Paul and transported by U.S. Coast Guard C-130 aircraft to Bird Rescue’s Anchorage emergency response center. After medical stabilization, washing, and rehabilitation, the cleaned seabirds were again transported (a four hour flight) back to St. Paul Island, where their release was celebrated by the community and with the participation of schoolchildren.

Bird Rescue is proud of its work and the body of knowledge regarding the care of oiled wildlife that it has cultivated and shared since its inception in 1971. Data such as band returns on these species provide critical feedback to our rehabilitation processes, and clearly we are on the right track.

The deceased eider (Federal Band #1347-54950) was found near English Bay on St. Paul Island earlier this year. The metal band number was reported to the USGS Bird Banding Lab and they shared the information with Bird Rescue.

Male King Eiders are known for their very ornate and distinctive plumage. The male’s black and white feathers are accented by a reddish orange bill, bluish crown and greenish cheek. They are common in the Arctic waters of the Bering Sea.

This is the fourth King Eider from the 1996 spill that has been reported through the Bird Banding Lab.

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