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Stranded newborn minke whale saved in B.C. Watch rescue

Leeanna McLean
Digital Reporter

Sunday, September 24, 2017, 8:07 PM - In a heartwarming tale of survival, fishing lodge workers in British Columbia came together to save the life of a newborn Minke whale that beached itself on Thursday.

Caretaker of Samson Lodge Andy Adams spotted the young whale around 10:30 a.m. Thursday in Naden Harbour on the sandy shore of Kung in Haida Gwaii.

Adams decided to travel to Queen Charlotte Lodge to ask for some assistance. Several workers cleared the work day to help with rescue efforts, according to one of the rescuers Janelle Stapleton.

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"What an incredible opportunity," she told The Weather Network. "Eight staff members piled into the boat with buckets to see what we could do. The whale was very still when we got there and we were worried that he was sick or injured."

The minke had a few scrapes on its back, which Stapleton said may have been a result of being separated from its mother and chased into the harbour by orcas.

Newborn minke whale rescued in Haida Gwaii, B.C.

"We'll never know why he got there, but we knew we had to help out," she said. "We kept pouring buckets and buckets of water on him to get his temperature down, and after a while he perked up a bit and started breathing deeper and moving slightly."

According to Stapleton, a part of the newborn's umbilical cord was still attached.

"We dug a bit of the sand out from around him to let the water pool there to keep his temperature down as the tide was coming in," she said.

The group knew they only had a brief window of opportunity, so they waited until high tide at 2:30 p.m. to attempt to get the whale back into the water.

"He responded very well and got livelier as the water got deeper around him," she said.

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It took several attempts, but after about 15 minutes the whale was on its way. Fisheries and Oceans Canada was then contacted. The group went out on the water with the DFO and managed to spot the whale.

"He seemed to be doing OK. What an incredible feeling to watch him regain his energy and swim back out into the ocean," Stapleton said. "With a bit of help, we hope he can now find his mother. We all agreed that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity."

Part 2 of minke whale rescue in Haida Gwaii, B.C.

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