B.C. whale rescue: Feeding plan for stranded orca calf

Zeballos, B.C. –

Plans to save a killer whale calf stranded in a remote tidal lagoon off northern Vancouver Island for almost two weeks have been elevated to attempts to feed the young animal.

Federal Fisheries Department rescue team members say they will now look to observe if the orca calf will eat harbour seal remains placed at areas of the lagoon where the young killer whale is known to frequent.

Paul Cottrell, the department’s Pacific region marine mammal co-ordinator, says the rescue team has yet to see the orca calf eat anything from the lagoon, though the animal was photographed with a bird in its mouth.

But he says the lagoon does offer feeding opportunities for the young orca as it is plentiful with fish.

The orca calf has been alone in the lagoon near Zeballos since last month after its pregnant mother became beached on the rocky shore at low tide and died.

Cottrell says marine mammal experts have yet to examine recent drone footage to determine the orca calf’s state of health, but it appears active and shows no signs of deteriorating condition.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2024.

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