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Rescuers trying to feed orphan orca stranded in a B.C. lagoon

Lagoon near Zeballos has plenty of fish, observers yet to see calf eating
An orphaned orca calf is shown in a lagoon near Zeballos, B.C., on Tuesday April 2, 2024. The two year-old orca has been alone in the tidal lagoon near Little Espinosa Inlet since March 23 when its pregnant mother became trapped by the low tide and died on the rocky beach. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Plans to save a killer whale calf stranded in a remote tidal lagoon off northern Vancouver Island for almost two weeks have been elevated to attempts to feed the young animal.

Federal Fisheries Department rescue team members say they will now look to observe if the orca calf will eat harbour seal remains placed at areas of the lagoon where the young killer whale is known to frequent.

Paul Cottrell, the department’s Pacific region marine mammal co-ordinator, says the rescue team has yet to see the orca calf eat anything from the lagoon, though the animal was photographed with a bird in its mouth.

But he says the lagoon does offer feeding opportunities for the young orca as it is plentiful with fish.

The orca calf has been alone in the lagoon near Zeballos since last month after its pregnant mother became beached on the rocky shore at low tide and died.

Cottrell says marine mammal experts have yet to examine recent drone footage to determine the orca calf’s state of health, but it appears active and shows no signs of deteriorating condition.

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