Rescuers on Tuesday rescued two humpback whales stranded off the Atlantic coast of Argentina.
More than 30 people, including marine conservationists, civil defense members, Coast Guard officials, firefighters, lifeguards and locals, came together to free the mammals within 48 hours. The whales were stranded on the beach in the resort town of La Lucila del Mar, 360 km south of Buenos Aires.
According to the Mundo Marino Foundation, on Sunday, a teenage female humpback about 8 tons and 32 feet tall was the first to be stranded.
The second whale, a male juvenile of the same species, which was more than 27 feet in length and weighed about 7 tons, was trapped on Monday afternoon.
A local citizen alerted the foundation, which, along with other Argentine officials, launched a rescue operation. Upon arriving to survey the situation, “first aid efforts were made immediately, which included ensuring that the person’s condition allowed him to breathe”.
The rescue team ensured that the animal’s pectoral fins remained under water to stabilize the body temperature.
Despite the difficulties, rescuers buried cables and slings under the female whale’s body, then attached it to a backhoe tractor crane to keep her in deep water.
The re-swimming process was continued so that the whale could re-establish its mobility, reducing cramps caused by grounding, a statement from the foundation said. Shortly after, the animal began to swim under its own power.
In the middle of the rescue operation, the waves tore down the whale and the mammal’s blowhole was under water, causing difficulty in breathing. “Thanks to the quick action, they were able to turn it around,” said Sergio Rodriguez Heredia, a biologist at the foundation’s rescue center.
The trapped man was spotted on Monday night and rescue operations began the next morning, seeing that he was in a “good state of health”.
Rescuers used the same technique used on the female whale and successfully freed the trapped male. “It was necessary to straighten the animal, with the help of backhoes and special slings, to bring it to a depth where it would be possible to swim,” said Augusto Giachetti, director of the Coastal Division of Civil Defense.
The whale reacted rapidly and was able to swim in the ocean.
Videos shared by the foundation show rescuers cheering as the animals make it to the deepest parts of the ocean.
According to the foundation, there have been repeated incidents of whales being trapped in Argentina and Brazil in recent months, causing concern among environmentalists.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Humpback whale