Cape Bretoners work together to save 16 beached pilot whales

Beached pilot whales

A pod of pilot whales became stranded Tuesday morning near Judique, Cape Breton. Local residents rushed to the scene and worked in teams to prevent the animals from blocking their blowholes, while also trying to keep them submerged in the shallow water.

Elaine Legault/CBC

By the end of the day twenty volunteers had gathered to help guide the whales to safety.

Local resident Maggie MacIntyre told the CBC that she and other community members, “were just trying to do what we could until the tide got high — just keeping them upright. And as the tide came in there started to be a bit of a lift, we’d try to push them out into the deeper water.”

Elaine Legault/CBC

Ten of the sixteen whales survived the beaching. The carcasses of the remaining six were measured and sampled for future research by the Marine Animal Response Society.

While there was some concern that the whales would become stranded again, they seem to have made it safely back out to sea.