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January 9, 2013 at 9:24 PM

Ice encroaching on pod of killer whales trapped in Hudson Bay

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIJGW1HYxsA

YouTube user TheKayuk posted this video of  the ice-trapped killer whales in Hudson Bay.

About a dozen killer whales have been ice-trapped in Hudson Bay since earlier this week, and no one is sure whether they can be saved.

Several videos of the whales gasping for air in the small space where they’re trapped have been posted by villagers of Inukjuak, Quebec.  After the videos went viral on the Internet, an international public outcry to help rescue the orcas began.

A grassroots campaign to convince someone to help save the whales has been set up on Facebook. Activists are using hashtags #SaveQuebecWhales and #BigMiracle to help make the issue trend on Twitter.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has said it is aware of the situation and is working closely with resources in nearby Nunavik to decide what to do next.

Icebreakers that could help open an escape path for the whales are “out of reach” Inukjuak Mayor Petah Inukpuk told the Toronto Star after speaking with Fisheries and Oceans officials.

“That is the only solution for any chance of survival for those killer whales, but there is none nearby at the moment,” he told the newspaper.

The only U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker heavy-duty enough to break through Arctic seas now and into Hudson Bay is the Seattle-based Polar Star, which came out of a four-year, $56 million refurbishment just last month. The Coast Guard has not said what kind of assistance, if any, it might contribute to a rescue.

Some are still holding out for a miracle like the one pulled off in an international effort in 1988 to save three gray whales trapped by ice near Point Barrow, Alaska. The rescue effort was written about by Tom Rose in “Freeing the Whales,”  which was then adapted into a movie starring Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski released last year, Big Miracle.

A Wisconsin-based de-icer equipment company instrumental in that 1988 effort, Kasco Marine, is also trying to rally support for a rescue of the killer whales trapped in Hudson Bay.

“We are doing our best to provide all of the assistance we can in the rescue effort by continuing to look for transportation to the remote area of Inukjuak where there is very limited airplane accessibility,” the company posted on its Facebook page.

The company encourages anyone who may be able to help  the cause to e-mail them at KascoMarineBigMiracle@gmail.com.

0 Comments | More in Environment | Topics: Big Miracle, Inukjuak, killer whales

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