BY BROOKLYN PINHEIRO
It seems like there is always news of people putting wildlife in danger for a cool story or photograph. Whether its dolphins, turtles, or a harmful animal spectacle people have shown they do not not always have common sense when interacting with mother nature.
That’s why when a positive story surfaces, where people are helping animals rather than benefiting off of their suffering, its all the more uplifting. Such a story occurred in Brazil earlier this week when people worked together to keep a young whale from dying while stranded on a beach.
The 45 feet long, 15 ton whale was found on Praia Rasa in Buzios when people stepped in to help. The crowd dug around the whale and tossed as much water as they could onto the mammal, keeping it alive for hours until high tide returned. Once the water surrounded the animal the group helped guide it back into deeper water where the whale could find its way back to ocean.
Whales, who are ordinarily amazing navigators, can end up on dry land for many different reasons. Some of which may be a result of human interference in the oceans. Water pollution, like oil spills or toxins may cause whales to change their course of direction causing them to get lost or disoriented. Sonar pulses from ships and submarines are also thought to throw whales off course, especially for those who rely heavily on sonar, such as beak-nose and melon-head whales. Individual whales may beach themselves because of an injury or illness and groups of whales may find themselves on shore by following the lead of a dominant whale who gets confused.
For whatever reason the mammal has gotten on the beach there are ways to help keep a whale alive if you come across one. The people at Praia Rasa had the right idea by keeping the creature wet. Also, if possible, helpers should attempt to push the whale onto its belly and check to ensure its blow hole isn’t obstructed. Other than those couple things, waiting for a professional is the best course of action as one should never attempt to drag a whale by its tail or fin back to the water.
Now with that little bit of knowledge, if you see a stranded whale be a good person and lend a hand, because the world needs more good stories.