Humans Save Stranded Pilot Whales

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Health Editor’s Note: So I often blame humans for harm to animals.  Today I am happy to  give two thumbs up to those who helped these pilot whales get back into the ocean off of Georgia…..Carol

Georgia Beachgoers Help Save Pod of Stranded Pilot Whales

by Brigit Katz Smithsonian.com

Video of Pilot Whale Rescue

A beach on Georgia’s St. Simons Island became the scene of a dramatic rescue operation on Tuesday, after as many as 50 pilot whales swam into perilously shallow waters. Beachgoers who had been enjoying the sunny day sprang into action, dousing the pilot whales with water and pushing them deeper into the sea, despite shark sightings in the area.

According to Sarah Emerson of Vice, at least a dozen of the animals repeatedly beached themselves. Dixie McCoy, who was on the scene that day, recorded part of the ordeal on Facebook Live. Her video shows the whales writhing in the sand, making high-pitched vocalizations, as volunteers rushed to pour water over them with cupped hands.

“They’re going to die if they don’t get help,” McCoy says in the clip.

Experts with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center were on the scene to orchestrate the rescue—which was no easy feat, considering that a single adult pilot whale can weigh between 1.5 and three tons. The effort to get the creatures into deeper waters took hours; ultimately, though, almost all made it back to the sea alive. Three whales, in total, died, one of whom had to be euthanized, according to Emily S. Rueb of the New York Times.

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