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Leave whale trapped at Cook's Cove alone, experts urge

A humpback whale has been stranded in Cook's Cove since Friday, trapped by the pack ice. — Submitted photo courtesy of Whale Release and Strandings
A humpback whale has been stranded in Cook's Cove since Friday, trapped by the pack ice. — Submitted photo courtesy of Whale Release and Strandings

Members of a local whale rescue organization are urging the public to leave a humpback entrapped in ice in Cook's Cove be.

The humpback has been stuck in the thick ice in Cook's Cove, Old Perlican since Friday, and its future is unfortunately not looking good: the weather forecast is calling for blizzard conditions and strong winds tonight and Monday, meaning the ice is unlikely to move.
Members of the non-profit Whale Release and Strandings group were in Cook's Cove Saturday to assess the whale and its situation.
"The whale is entrapped in heavy Arctic pack ice and in very shallow water," the group posted on Facebook. "There is nothing that can be done to assist unless the wind changes and frees the ice in the cove. An icebreaker would not be able to navigate in there and we can't euthanize the animal.
"Please respect the animal in the situation it has found itself, and do not attempt to touch the animal, but just leave it."
Area residents report hearing the humpback crying and seeing blood on the ice.
The heart-wrenching situation is common around the shores of Newfoundland, the rescue group, which is almost always called in to assist, says. The group has conducted a number of successful rescues in the past, using snowmobiles and trucks.
Often happening in March and April, whales, dolphins and porpoises have found themselves trapped between the shoreline and the icefield when the wind has pushed the ice in. They can be forced into shallow water, where they strand, the group says.
2014 saw several blue whales die near Cape Anguille, predicted to have been trapped in the ice. A month earlier, about three dozen white-beaked dolphins died near Cape Ray after spending days trapped in the ice and shallow water.
"Situations when marine animals become trapped in ice are very unfortunate, but do occur in the marine ecosystem —especially when ice conditions are extreme — and should be left to take their course in most circumstances," a Department of Fisheries and Oceans spokesman told members of the media at the time.

tbradbury@thetelegram.com
Twitter: @tara_bradbury

This map shows the location of the stranded whale, which has been trapped by ice in Cook's Cove all weekend. — Google maps image

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