Imagine realizing the life of one of the planet’s deadliest animals was in your hands. This is the exact situation beach goers off the coast of Canada found themselves in when they heard the cries of a baby orca.
The baby orca had been swimming in the area but got beached and stranded on some rocks after failing to swim back out to sea before the tide had gone out. A man heard the orca’s cries and ran over to help. Eventually, a team made up of Guardians from British Columbia and other rescuers banded together to help the stranded baby.
Unfortunately, even a team of dedicated rescuers cannot lift a five ton animal on their own. And the orca had gotten itself stuck in a place with no access for heavy machinery. So, the beach goers quickly realized they’d have to turn to drastic measures.
They used a water pump to soak some sheets in order to keep the orca cool and wet until the tide came back in. However, it would take the tide about eight hours to reach the poor orca. Desperate to keep it alive during the long wait, some rescuers even used the shirts off their own backs to soak and cover the whale.
Obviously, whales are not designed to live on land. Their extremely heavy bodies are insulated with large amounts of blubber that will quickly dry out in the sun. On top of that, whales need water to support their extreme weights. This baby orca was only about five tons, but that’s still too much weight to be stranded on land. And what’s worse? Images of the event show that the baby orca was stuck awkwardly on some jagged rocks. The rescuers explained that her frequent cries were enough to hurt their hearts.
After over six hours of heartbreaking rescue work, the tide finally reached the whale. The baby orca was able to swim away traumatized, but alive.
Orcas may be one of the most dangerous animals on our planet, but this incident shows us that compassion can overcome fear. Thanks to the work of some quick-thinking beach goers, our planet is able to keep one more of these amazing creatures.