As a result of a 20-hour rescue operation, a 65ft whale was towed back into the ocean from a beach in China.
First spotted on a beach in Ningbo, south of Shanghai, on Tuesday morning. The whale was initially thought to be an orca. As long as people didn’t act swiftly, the massive mammal wouldn’t survive for long.
Bruce Mate, professor emeritus of fisheries, wildlife, and conservation at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, noted that strandings of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) are challenging and these animals don’t always survive even after being saved.
Mate told Live Science, “Good on them for making a noble effort in trying to get this animal back to sea, but the odds are quite difficult”.
Despite breathing oxygen as land mammals do, whales require water to keep from overheating. Additionally, beached whales run the risk of drowning when the rising tide covers their hole or collapses under their own weight.
The rescue attempt lasted nearly an entire day
When it was found on the shoreline close to Xiangshan County in Ningbo, the whale was reportedly in severe condition. To keep the whale alive, firefighters dispatched a rescue team who doused its 20-meter-long body with water and created a pool of seawater in a trench.
To keep the whale alive, rescuers constructed a trench pool filled with seawater
It wasn’t going to be simply keeping the whale alive, despite their commitment to its survival and rescue. Because it weighed an estimated 10 tons, the volunteers were unable to simply drag it out to sea or even tow it away with a boat.
Finally, volunteers dug a tunnel around the whale’s body that could fill with sea water while they devised a solution and laboriously poured water into it to keep it hydrated.
Whales who are washed ashore run the risk of dehydration or dying to their own weight
Then, the team tied the whale with guide ropes and towed it to shallow waters. When the tide eventually rose high enough at about 10 pm, the rescuers were able to utilize five boats to drag the whale deep enough into the water after 20 hours of nonstop struggle to keep it alive.
At about 5:30 am on Wednesday, the rescue team cut the hauling cable and set the whale free in deep waters.
The whale is measured at about 10 tons
Eventually, the whale was dragged back into deeper seas
After the dramatic rescue operation, the whale could be seen swimming out into the distance as the sun rose with the aid of the boats and the tide. Let the whale know how much you appreciate its existence by leaving a comment in the box below.