Beached humpback whale gets new lease of life after 28-hour rescue operation

A group of over 30 rescuers selflessly worked round-the-clock to get the humpback whale back into the waters off the Argentinian coast


                            Beached humpback whale gets new lease of life after 28-hour rescue operation

Who doesn't love second chances? And if you're a stranded humpback whale on a beach, you'd be more than grateful for the new lease of life. A massive rescue operation that lasted an exhausting 28 hours saw people come together and help a humpback whale that marooned itself on an Argentinian beach return to the ocean. 

Beached 200 miles south of Buenos Aires on a stretch of beach in Mar del Tuyu, the huge humpback whale was nearly on the brink of death and in desperate need of life-saving assistance. Fortunately, a group of selfless rescuers decided to give the mammal a helping hand. More than 30 rescuers from Mundo Marino worked for 28 hours as they manually dug around the seven-tonne mammal in the hope of securing ropes around its fins and encourage it back out to sea.



 

When their repeated attempts failed, they resorted to take the help of a mechanical digger to maneuver the whale. However, the whale proved to be too tired to move and rescuers were forced to monitor the mammal overnight before resuming the operation at sunrise. 

They took turns to keep the whale hydrated and once daylight broke, again launched a plan to ensure the mammal returns to the sea. This time, using the digger to raise the humpback from the shoreline, and a tugboat to coax it past the first surf, the whale eventually started to swim on its own. After making a turn to thank its rescuers, the gentle giant disappeared into the deep blue amid cheers from the people in the water.



 

ABC news reported that biologist Karina Alvarez, who oversaw the rescue, said: "When we arrived on Saturday at 9:30 in the morning the whale was stranded on the shore. We made attempts to refloat it by pushing it into the water, but we did not succeed."

She continued: "With a lot of effort, we managed to keep looking towards the sea and with enough water so that it could float, but although the whale floated, it did not react when it had the opportunity to swim since he did not [have the energy to] move his pectoral fins or tail." She added: "Whales tend to go to the coast to die, but there is a chance that this is not the case and the team wants to give it a second chance."

The operation began on the morning of September 29 before finishing around noon the following day. The rescue was a joint effort between teams from Argentina's Mundo Marino Aquarium, the country's coast guard, lifeguards, boy scouts and volunteers who eventually saw the whale returned to the Atlantic Ocean after more than a full day of hard labor.

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