This morning I woke up to an article on the front page of my local newspaper with the title: “12 orcas trapped in ice in Northern Quebec.” Since Monday, these killer whales have been trapped in thick layers of choppy ice most likely due to a shifting of the ice.
“For at least two days, the mammals were trapped around a single, pickup truck-sized breathing hole in the ice, about 30 kilometres from Inukjuak. Locals captured images of the orcas frantically bobbing for air from the opening, which allowed only a couple of the animals to surge for oxygen at a time.”
12 huge orcas in a tiny hole performing their own version of ‘survival of the fittest.’ Ottawa, the capital of Canada had no plans to free the orcas which would require an ice-breaking ship to set them free. The town of Inukjuak did not have the appropriate equipment to do this. Why the killer whales/orcas swam so close to the shore is unknown, but it is thought there was a break in the ice due to the overall warmer climate where they swam through, and it closed or shifted around them, trapping them. Thanks to social media like Twitter, Facebook and the like, photos and information was posted and the whales story became a national story with the public and local leaders wondering why the federal government would not send the necessary equipment to set them free.
“The federal department said Thursday that two DFO scientists were headed to the village to collect information. Locals had agreed to attempt to enlarge the existing breathing hole — and cut a second opening using chain saws and drills.”
This afternoon, I come across social media, local news and the internet stating the 12 orcas are free because the ice shifted once again and they were able to swim away from the shore, but are they safe?
To play devil’s advocate, there are those that say the federal government should not get involved as to do so would cost quite a sum of money and where is it coming from? To spend so much money on freeing the orcas means the money is taken from education or healthcare perhaps? The compassionate and humanistic side in me says the federal government should have stepped in, but the realistic or rational side says let nature take its natural course. 12 beautiful looking mammals, hmmm. In this case all worked out fine and the orca pod is swimming free, but will the ever-moving ice trap them again elsewhere? What are you thoughts?
**Written by Victoria Brewster, MSW – SJS Staff Writer in Canada**
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