Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Endangered Beluga Whale Rescued from N.B. River, Returned to St. Lawrence Estuary

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Endangered Beluga Whale Rescued from N.B. River, Returned to St. Lawrence Estuary

Article excerpt

Wayward beluga whale returned to sea

--

BATHURST, N.B. - A young beluga whale that lost its way in a northern New Brunswick river has been rescued in a unique and complex operation that saw the endangered marine mammal travel by land, air and sea before being reunited with a pod in its natural habitat.

"We put him back in the St. Lawrence near a pod of belugas and he started to swim right away," Marie-Eve Muller with the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals said Thursday evening. "He seemed quite vigorous back in the water."

The juvenile male whale waded into New Brunswick's Nepisiguit River weeks ago, likely following a school of fish or an impulsive teenage drive for adventure.

The beluga -- about two metres long -- appeared healthy but showed no sign of leaving the river on his own.

The federal Fisheries Department, marine mammal groups and scientists banded together and launched a rescue mission to move the wayward beluga back to the deep blue sea.

Rescuers gently coaxed the whale into a net, using an acoustic deterrent device to direct the beluga towards the trap, and then transferred him to a sling.

The mammal, a bit thin with skin in poor shape, was assessed by a veterinarian and given an injection to keep him calm during the transport.

The whale was then carried from the river to the back of a truck, where he was transported to the Bathurst, N.B., airport.

The beluga was then carefully loaded onto a small airplane and flown to Riviere-du-Loup, Que. The veterinarian stayed by the beluga's side during the flight and gave him intravenous fluids.

The whale's odyssey continued in Quebec as he was loaded back on to a truck and transported to a port near Cacouna, where he was put on a boat.

Rescuers then ferried the young whale to an area near a pod of belugas, and set him free. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.