Captured Baby Orca Nicknamed 'Brave Little Hunter' Evades Rescue Attempts and Swims Alone to Freedom in Canada

An orphaned orca calf that was trapped in a tidal lagoon on Vancouver Island for weeks and evaded multiple rescue attempts swam out on its own on Friday, a local indigenous tribe said.

The Ehattesaht First Nation had been watching over the orca calf they named “Brave Little Hunter” after her pregnant mother died on a rocky beach in late March.

They, along with fisheries officials, made several unsuccessful attempts to catch and release her in open water.

An attempt to free the whale in mid-April used a net to tie her into a large cloth sling in shallow waters. The whale managed to elude a 50-person rescue team, which used boats, divers and advanced underwater detection equipment. In another attempt, a woman tried to lure the whale out of the lagoon by playing her violin during high tide.

Then suddenly at 2:30 a.m. local time on Friday, during high tide on a starry night, she swam past the sandbar where her mother died, under the bridge, down Little Espinosa Inlet and into Esperanza (Inlet), all alone. ,” the Ehattesaht First Nation said in a statement.

CANADÁ-ORCA ATRAPADA
An orca calf swims in Little Espinosa Inlet, near Zeballos, British Columbia, on Friday, April 19, 2024.

Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press via AP


A small group watched her go, it said, after being treated to “a long night of breaking (her) and playing.”

The team later caught up with the orca calf in Esperanza Inlet, hoping to “encourage her to head out to the open ocean, where it is hoped the Brave Little Hunter's calls will be heard by her family.”

In a statement, Fisheries and Oceans Canada said the marine mammal rescue team was “monitoring the animal to ensure it did not become stranded during an upcoming low tide.” The agency also posted drone video of the orca.

“The team will also monitor the location of the calf as she searches for her family,” the agency said.

While there is enormous public interest in the plight of the little whale and efforts to save her, authorities have now asked everyone to stay away from the area and the whale itself to facilitate her reunion with relatives.

Chief Simon John said officials and members of the nation have taken protective measures to ensure the whale has no contact with people or boats.

“Every opportunity must be given to have her back with her family, with as little human interaction as possible,” he said.

The orca's swim to freedom comes more than two months after a pod of killer whales became trapped in sea ice off the coast of Japan. can escape.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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