The rescue of a Whale
By: Abelardo Castillo | Associate Specialist in Social Geography and Wildlife Management. CEDO Intercultural
On the morning of July 7, 2021, a fin whale Balaenoptera physalus was found stranded alive at El Mirador beach in Puerto Peñasco. The beached whale was reported to the local authorities who came immediately, and CEDO was notified.
We went to the site where a group of volunteers, elements of the Navy and the personnel of the offices of the Federal Maritime Zone, Civil Protection and Ecology of the municipality were already working, attending to the specimen with buckets of water and wet rags, and pumping water from the sea to keep it hydrated. The animal was checked and we found out that it was a 10-meter male and that despite being on a rocky bed, it was in good condition.
Many volunteers focused on removing the rocks around and under the specimen to facilitate its possible return to sea and to prevent it from getting hurt. We got a bulldozer to clear the site of rocks. The maneuvers were coordinated between CEDO and the participating institutions and we decided to wait for the rising tide to facilitate the buoyancy of the whale to move it towards the sea as soon as possible.
The animal was kept as comfortable as possible. The site had to be closed as more and more people came and there were already enough people working. As the whale began to float and the pressure of the weight of its body on its thorax was released, it began to breathe better, encouraging everyone present to continue with the work.
Finally, when the whale could be pushed a little and began to float, we all coordinated to turn the whale completely around so that its head was pointing in the direction of the sea.
As soon as this was achieved, the whale immediately began to swim and move away, taking great breaths of air and blowing out steam as a sign of recovery. This was celebrated by all those present who demonstrated that a great collaborative job can be very successful.
We continued to observe the specimen until it was confirmed that the whale was already safe and sound offshore.
CEDO congratulates all those who participated in this rescue, especially the residents and visitors of Puerto Peñasco and we acknowledge the great work of the Secretary of the Navy, ZOFEMAT, and the Civil Protection and Ecology offices of Puerto Peñasco.
We are committed to continue collaborating and doing research and expanding our knowledge about these beautiful animals that are usually in our waters every year from December to April and which can be observed during those months. It should be noted that CEDO has the first official permit granted in this region for whale watching of blue and fin whales.