‘Hopefully he can reunite with his family’: 100 volunteers help guide beached whale into waters

Click to play video: 'Work underway to save pilot whale at Rainbow Haven Beach in Cow Bay, N.S.'
Work underway to save pilot whale at Rainbow Haven Beach in Cow Bay, N.S.
WATCH: Video footage of a whale rescue at Rainbow Haven Beach in Cow Bay, N.S., courtesy of Nancy Briggs Carr. – Jan 1, 2018

A pilot whale that washed up along a Nova Scotia beach has been given a second chance at life thanks to the quick thinking of dozens of people.

The whale was first spotted around 9 a.m. by someone walking along the Rainbow Haven Beach in Cow Bay.

After a call for help went out on social media, nearly 100 people came to the beach to try and get the whale back in the water, including local community members and surfers.

Officials from RCMP, Halifax Fire, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Marine Animal Response Society (MARS) also made their way to the beach to help the stranded whale.

“There was definitely no shortage of hands to help,” said Andrew Reid, response coordinator with MARS.

Officials say about 100 people came out to Rainbow Haven Beach to help a stranded pilot whale. Courtesy: Nancy Briggs Carr

Officials say the whale responded to tests, appeared aware and a visual inspection of his body went well.

Story continues below advertisement

Reid says pilot whales are a social species and typically travel as a family so there is always a concern that there could be an underlying sickness or issue for it to be found alone. Although he said it’s possible the whale couldn’t find its way back to its family and ended up on the beach.

The whale was discovered around 9 a.m. by someone walking along the beach. Courtesy: Nancy Briggs Carr

Reid says volunteers put the whale on a pontoon and carried it towards the water. “It moved surprisingly easy,” he said.

Typically, Reid says MARS would keep the animal on the pontoon for at least an hour to allow them to get their energy back and release them at high tide. However, in this instance, high tide wasn’t until 6:40 p.m., which was too long to wait and the whale was released during a strong current before 1 p.m.

Reid says pilot whales shouldn’t be in this region this time of year, as they tend to move south into the Gulf Stream.

Story continues below advertisement
A few hours after it was found, the whale was guided into the water by volunteers. Courtesy: Nancy Briggs Carr

“You never know but we definitely gave the animal its best chance at survival,” said Reid.  “Hopefully he can reunite with his family.”

The quick rescue wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of the dozens of volunteers who spent their holiday Monday braving the cold weather to help an animal in need.

“The local community really made this work,” said Reid.

Sponsored content