Stranded sperm whale returned to sea after a 21-hour rescue effort

(People's Daily App) 14:14, April 25, 2022

A sperm whale stranded on the shore of Shipu, Xiangshan county in Ningbo, East China’s Zhejiang Province, was saved after a 21-hour rescue effort. At 5:49 am on Wednesday, the whale successfully returned to sea. The 19-meter sperm whale was stranded on the coast around 6 am on Tuesday. Given the difficulty of towing the whale out to sea at low tide, rescuers focused on helping the whale survive where it had beached.

Several municipal- and county-level departments and organizations, including local marine and fishery law enforcement, emergency responders, port police, aquatic wildlife rescue groups, Shipu’s town officials, and volunteers employed a variety of methods to keep the whale in stable condition.

Rescuers retreated further ashore as the tide began to swell at around 6 pm,. At 8:30 pm, when the water level had risen high enough, the marine and fishery law enforcement and emergency responders approached the whale on fishing vessels and prepared to tow it into deeper waters.

Around 9 pm, using special cables attached to the whale earlier in the day, a fishing vessel slowly pulled the whale out to sea.

At 11:50 pm, reaching 9-meter-deep waters, the sperm whale gradually regained its strength and began blowing spray out of its blowhole.

The fishing vessel continued to tow the whale, heading for waters with a depth of 20 me-ters, the minimum depth for a safe release. The vessel sailed at low speed to avoid injuring the whale.

After an 8-hour journey, the whale was released near Nanjiushan Island. At 5:49 am on Wednesday, the rescued whale dis-appeared into the sea, marking the successful conclusion of the 21-hour rescue effort.

Twelve rescue and law enforcement vessels and over 200 rescuers participated in the operation.

(Source: Ningbo Evening News)

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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