A beached yearling humpback whale had to be humanely euthanized on Saturday in Australia despite heroic efforts by a team of volunteers trying their best to save him. For more than a day, the juvenile remained beached on the NSW Mid North Coast. Sadly, as his health deteriorated and the rough seas precluded all extraordinary rescue plans, the whale blinked his eyes and weakly moved its flippers, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.
“It’s been a very, very difficult afternoon for everybody involved,” marine rescue organization Orcca vice-president Shona Lorigan said from Sawtell Beach, south of Coffs Harbour, on Saturday.
The whale first beached himself on shore Friday night. No one had any explanation as to how the young whale ended up on the beach, but some environmental experts have suggested his inexperience on his first solo migration may have been a factor. Experts had been monitoring the whale’s health as the seas continued to get rougher and rougher. It wasn’t expected that rescuers would be able to launch a boat to try and tow him out into the sea again until Monday, but the animal’s suffering seemed to be escalating as each hour passed.
“Mother nature’s not helped us today; the waves are getting bigger as I watch,” Lorigan stated. “We really had to think of the welfare of the whale, and we didn’t want it to suffer any longer.”
Even though volunteers had continued to pour buckets of water on top of him and covered his skin with material to keep him wet, his inactivity had caused the whale too much pain. On Monday, his body will be removed from the beach, and he will be buried.
Rest in peace sweet freed animal. Nature can be very cruel.
(Photos screenshots via Twitter Environment + Heritage)
A short video showing volunteers trying to save the juvenile whale can be viewed here.
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