Locals report shifting sea ice frees trapped whalesTHE ASSOCIATED PRESS | January 11,2013MONTREAL — About a dozen killer whales trapped under sea ice appeared to be free after the ice shifted, village officials in Canada’s remote north said Thursday, while residents who feared they would get stuck elsewhere hired a plane to track them down.
The whales’ predicament in the frigid waters of Hudson Bay made international headlines, and locals had been planning a rescue operation with chainsaws and drills before the mammals slipped away.
Tommy Palliser said two hunters from remote Inukjuak village reported that the waters had opened up around the area where the cornered whales had been bobbing frantically for air around a single, truck-sized hole in the ice. Officials said shifting winds might have pushed the ice away.
“It’s certainly good news — that’s good news for the whales,” said Palliser, a business adviser with the regional government.
But fears remained that the whales might have been trapped elsewhere by the ever-moving ice.
Inukjuak, about 930 miles north of Montreal, hired an airplane to scan the region for signs of the whales, town manager Johnny Williams said.
“We’re quite concerned, that’s why we’re chartering the plane to find out if we can find them,” Williams said, adding that the village of 1,800 likely will pay for the aerial search.
“Even though they’re a nuisance, even though they’re a killer (of) our (beluga) whales and seals,” he said. “They’re like humans, they’re mammals — alive. They don’t need to suffer.”
Locals said the whales had been trapped for at least two days. A recent, sudden drop in temperature may have caught the whales off guard, leaving them trapped The cornered animals were first seen Tuesday and appeared to have less energy by late Wednesday, Palliser said.
Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans said government icebreakers were too far from the area to smash the ice to free the whales, Inukjuak Mayor Peter Inukpuk said Wednesday.
After that, Palliser said, locals had agreed to try to enlarge the breathing hole in the ice and cut a second opening using chainsaws and drills.
“We certainly had our prayers with them last night during our meeting,” he said.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans issued a statement Thursday saying two scientists were en route to gather information and will monitor the situation. Ice-trapped marine mammals are not unusual in the region.MORE IN Wire NewsLOS ANGELES — Immigration courts are speeding up hearings for the tens of thousands of Central... Full StoryBENGHAZI, Libya — Islamic hard-line militias, including the group accused by the United States... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Workers on this day in 1984 in a Cheshire, England, peat bog find well-preserved human remains at least 2,000 years dead, born this day in 1843, Robert Todd Lincoln, eldest son of the president, present at three assassinations.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather information and easily digestible news tidbits: A fiery pit nicknamed the 'Gate of Hell' in the Karakum desert in Turkmenistan has been burning for 40 years.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: osh O'Gorman reports on the impact of state budget cuts on state colleges, Rutland Town welcomes Donna Zeller as town clerk, Bryanna Allen in Killington for chili cookoff and Haley talks up the big Shrine game with N.H. and Vt.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather information and easily digestible news tidbits: Teddy Roosevelt makes Americans believe the poor, peace-loving, misunderstood piranha is a vicious, dangerous animal.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa disappears on this day in 1975, on this day in 2003, the last Volkswagen Type I, the Beetle, rolls off the assembly line in Mexico, Ambrose Bierce on the classifications of homicide.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Seals have figured out fish they like to eat gather in schools around turbines in offshore wind farms. But the environment is not without hazards, maintenance vessels and noise pollution.