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Rescue group says it cannot help ailing humpback trapped in ice off Newfoundland

Ailing whale trapped in icy waters off N.L.

OLD PERLICAN, N.L. — A rescue group says there is nothing it can do to help a whale trapped in the icy waters off Newfoundland.

Whale Release and Strandings says the ice in Cook’s Cove near Old Perlican, N.L., is too thick to navigate with an icebreaker and they wouldn’t be able to euthanize the distressed animal.

“There is nothing that can be done to assist unless the wind changes and frees the ice in the cove,” the group wrote in a Facebook post Saturday. “Please respect the animal in the situation it has found itself and do not attempt to touch the animal but just to leave it.”

Mary Lou Riggs says the humpback has been stranded in the shallow waters near the shore since Friday and has been crying “like a baby.”

“He was jammed right in there and couldn’t even move,” says Riggs. “There’s a lot of blood on the ice, and they say it’s from his tail.”

Riggs says the scene is so heartbreaking, one of her friends couldn’t bare to look at it anymore and had to walk away.

The ice appeared to have shifted Sunday to allow more water to wash over the whale, Riggs says.

“He’s still alive. When I was down the other day, he was just blowing a bit,” says Riggs. “He was not right on top of the ice, but … the ice was packed around his sides.”

Based on her conversations with local fisherman, Riggs says it could be a matter of days until the wind changes to possibly free the ice.

A report from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans says there were two instances of large groups of animals becoming trapped and dying in pack ice in 2014 — one involving nine blue whales and the other involving 40 white-beaked dolphins.

The Canadian Press

Canadian Press

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