Tags: killer | whales | trapped | ice

Killer Whales Trapped in Ice: Canada Rushes To Save Them From Hudson Bay

Thursday, 10 Jan 2013 08:24 AM

By Megan Anderle

Trapped in ice in a bay of northern Quebec, 12 killer whales could be in imminent danger because there is no icebreaker available to help break them free.

A video posted on the CBC website shows the whales coming up for air through a small stretch of open water amid fields of white ice. They need air to survive.

Tommy Palliser, who saw the dozen black-and-white predators late Wednesday, said the hole is already markedly smaller, and he's concerned the wind appeared to be pushing the ice closer to the shore.

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Peter Inukpuk, a local mayor, called on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to send out an icebreaker to help break up the bay, but officials told him equipment needed to free the whales is out of the area.

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

As a result, the Canadian government is rushing a team of experts Thursday to the Hudson Bay investigate whether and how the whales can be saved.

"A team of experts from Fisheries and Oceans Canada is working very closely with its partner in Nunavik to evaluate the situation, but it’s too soon to know what will be the best solution," said Sylvia Racine, a spokesperson from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Martha Asudluak told the CBC that she saw the whales Wednesday morning.

"I saw the big head popping out of the waters ... I couldn't believe what I was seeing," she said. "They kind of looked like they needed help."

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Christian Ramp, who researches whales and Quebec-based marine life, told the CBC it's not unusual for whales to become trapped in ice. It is unusual, however, to see killer in the Canadian Arctic in January.

Ramp said climate change is to blame, causing the animals to stray farther north.

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