Rescue team gears up for new attempt to save stranded orca

By The Canadian Press and News Staff

A large seine fishing vessel capable of casting a net strong enough to hold a nearly 700-kilogram killer whale calf has arrived in Zeballos, to participate in the latest attempt to rescue the young orca stranded in a remote tidal lagoon.

The flat-bottom aluminum vessel has a built-in crane-like device for lifting heavy nets, and it’s expected to be deployed as part of a rescue effort that could happen any day now in the lagoon on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island.

The two-year-old calf — kʷiisaḥiʔis — has been alone in Little Espinosa Inlet for about three weeks after its pregnant mother was beached at low tide and died on March 23. The pair got into the lagoon by swimming through a narrow and fast-moving channel connecting it to the ocean.

Efforts to persuade the calf to swim back through the shallow channel proved futile.

Rescue efforts were called off last week after crews determined kʷiisaḥiʔis just wasn’t ready to be moved.

“kʷiisaḥiʔis simply decided that she is not ready to be moved. Anytime people undertake an effort like this you have to be prepared that the animal may not want to cooperate,” a statement from the Ehattesaht First Nation said at the time.

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