Rescued whale released in south China

An aerial drone photo taken on May 26, 2024 shows the short-finned pilot whale "Haitang" swimming in the

sea. [Photo/Xinhua]

With a splash, the short-finned pilot whale plunged from a scientific research ship back into the sea in south China's island province of Hainan on Sunday, 145 days after it was rescued.

"This is the first short-finned pilot whale successfully rescued in China," said Pu Bingmei, secretary general of the non-profit organization BlueRibbon Ocean Conservation Association (BROCA), who noted that the case could offer important reference for marine rescue work.

The male whale Haitang was found injured and stranded in the Haitang Bay of Sanya City on January 3. After coordinated efforts, it was sent to the Haichang animal conservation center and named after where it was rescued.

Pu remembered that at the beginning, Haitang was so weak that it faced the risk of being drowned in the water. More than 100 volunteers of BROCA took turns to take care of it in the pond around the clock.

Out of stress response, the whale once attacked a volunteer. But the behavior didn't stop volunteers from accompanying it.

During the past months, Haitang has grown from 3.6 meters long to 3.7 meters, and its bust measurement from 1.9 meters to 2 meters. "It is now able to feed and dive normally," said vet Xiong Chunlin with the conservation center.

On May 7, after investigation and discussion, experts agreed that the whale had already met the requirements for release into the wild.

After determining the release plan, the Haichang animal conservation center made a special water tank for the whale, while BROCA found vehicles and ships for transportation. Haitang finally returned to the sea after several drills.

To track and monitor its condition, scientists have attached a device on its back.

"I'm sure that Haitang can find its home and live healthily in the sea," said Pu.










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