Researchers Still Trying To Help Wayward Whales
Scientists are trying several methods to push a mother whale and her calf out of a Port of Sacramento lake and back into the ocean.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Scientists trying to lure a wayward whale and her calf out of a Port of Sacramento lake say the noise of the boat they’re using may have sabatoged their efforts.
The researchers hoped the whales would follow the recorded sounds of whales feeding, but the they turned away from the boat.
Next, officials will try a smaller boat, and if that doesn’t work, they’ll try to herd the mammals out with a platoon of boats.
Meanwhile, spectators continue to come to the site by the hundreds to catch a glimpse of the whales.
Many seem saddened by their plight. One West Sacramento man was close to tears, as he watched the whales surface briefly.
Others said they enjoyed seeing the whales, but hoped they made it back to the ocean soon.
Researchers are increasingly concerned about the health of the whales. Both have cuts which probably came from contact with boat propellers during their trip down the Sacramento River from the Pacific. Scientists also wonder how long the whales can survive in the fresh water of the port lake.
Twenty two years ago, when Humphrey the Humpback Whale became stranded near Rio Vista, it took 26 days to lure him back out to sea.
A gray whale that strayed into the Petaluma River in the 1990’s died before rescuers could herd him back to the ocean.