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Divers Rescue Whale Off Wirral Coast

Published: 13th June 2020 07:59

Updated article appears here.

Original article follows:

Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team report that a 13.5m long fin whale has been rescued after becoming stranded in the Dee Estuary.

WhalePhoto by Graham Barber

British Divers Marine Life Rescue Medics were called to the scene off the Wirral coast near Thurstaston on Friday morning, after the whale became stranded on the outgoing tide.

It was floated on the incoming tide and during the afternoon was reported as beginning to swim strongly for itself heading out to sea.

WhalePhoto by Graham Barber

A spokesperson for BDMLR said: "It is very close to the size that they are weaned and independent of their mother, so there may be some hope for this animal to survive by itself, if it can find its way back out of the estuary. It is also in moderate body condition, which is helpful to its prognosis too.

"Our team will continue to monitor from land and from a safe distance by boat so as not to cause any stress to the animal that might cause it to restrand. The tide is still coming in for at least another couple of hours and this will give it more space to move around in and hopefully locate the open sea."

Update from BDMLR at 7.25pm on Friday:

"After the whale refloated on the tide this afternoon it spent some time reorienting itself in the estuary, circling the rescue boat with our team on board a few times and gaining strength in its breathing and swimming action.  It was last seen heading out of the estuary onward to open water.  There have been no reported sightings since.

"We are cautiously optimistic that this has been a successful refloatation of the young fin whale, and we would ask people in the local region to please keep an eye out for it over the weekend as it may well remain in the area and there is still the possibility it may restrand.

"We'd like to thank all our volunteer Medics who attended today as well as those assisting in the background, and of course all of the local people and boat operators who gave their support throughout the day to help achieve this outcome."

WhalePhoto by Chris Cureton


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At 08:51 on 13th June 2020, merrymac commented:
Well done all those who helped this beautiful intelligent creature return home successfully - the locals who helped, H M Coastguard for co-ordinating and especially the volunteers from the BDMLR who have the necessary skills

John Cartlidge
At 11:19 on 13th June 2020, John Cartlidge commented:
Sadly, not looking too good today. The whale has returned and is beached again - SOURCE BDMLR -

*Update Sat 13th June 10:35*
Sadly the fin whale was resighted swimming in the Dee Estuary last night just before it got dark and has been found restranded this morning in the same area. We have our volunteer Medic team on the way again to assess the situation and whale’s current condition.

Our key concern now is that not only has the animal returned to the estuary after leaving, but that by the time the tide comes back in at lunchtime today that it will have spent a considerable amount of time out of the water. Whales have never evolved to be able to support their own weight on land of course, so when stranded they gradually crush themselves, causing significant internal damage to themselves. While yesterday we were fortunate that the animal was only stranded for a relatively short amount of time where any damage would have been limited, being stranded again now for some more hours will add to any damage that it has already sustained and may make it unviable to survive.

Due to the size and weight of the animal and the geography of the area, it is not possible to get the animal closer to the water to help relieve the pressure on its body. Dragging the animal by its tail will cause significant injuries and is not an option. As we mentioned yesterday, putting the animal to sleep is also incredibly difficult for a variety of reasons related to its size too.

We are saddened to say that the outlook today is looking less positive than yesterday, and we will update later with more news as the incident unfolds.
Tim Wright
At 12:16 on 13th June 2020, Tim Wright commented:
New article posted this morning. Let's pray for a good outcome.
Carrie Spacey
At 12:18 on 13th June 2020, Carrie Spacey responded:
Thanks Tim. Sorry John, I forgot to include a a link to the new piece in this original one. Now added at the top.

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