On July 22, a female orca became stranded on the rocks of British Columbia’s Hartley Bay during low tide. But thankfully, there’s an organization called “Guardians from Hartley Bay,” who lived up to their name, coming to the animal’s aid as it lay helpless on the rocks.
The group documented their six-hour rescue of the orca on Facebook.
“What we noticed right away is that the skin of the whale was already really dry,” Hermann Meuter, of The Cetacean Lab and Whale Point, told Global News. “We had a lot of blankets and sheets and we started pouring salt water on the sheets that were covering the whale, just to keep the skin cool, to reduce the stress level for the whale.” Eventually, the tide rose again, and orca was able to swim to freedom.
The Vancouver Aquarium’s Dr. Martin Haulena told the site that researchers will be keeping a close eye on the animal for a while, to make sure there are no long-term effects from its ordeal. When orcas and whales become breached and lie with all their weight outside the water, he explained, it can cause some tissue to die.
“It is no fun for a five-ton orca to be stranded on the rocks for that long, it was very stressful,” Meuter, summing up the whole experience fairly well.