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May-20-2007 02:13printcomments

Rescue Postponed For Whales: Delta and Dawn

The whales are still lost up a river channel 70 miles from the ocean, but their popularity is growing.

Coast Guard boat, assists marine biologists with wayward whales 52007
A Coast Guard 25-foot safe boat, from Station Vallejo, assists marine biologists working to direct wayward whales in a turning basin by West Sacramento. USCG photo by Petty Officer Jonathan R. Cilley

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) - Another attempt to rescue two whales that have traveled 70 miles away from the Pacific Ocean, up the Sacramento River, was unsuccessful Friday. Officials say they are calling off the effort for the weekend. The problem has the concern of a number of marine biologists and officials say they pose a number of hazards in this location, primarily to themselves.

Of course things like this always draw a crowd, and the whales are a unique sight for people who are totally unaccustomed to seeing them so far from the ocean.

Bernie Krause and Jason Mulsow,
with the Wild Sanctuary Team, and
the U.S. Coast Guard, help lower the
speaker used to emit whale
vocalizations to the Coast Guard
Cutter Pike today. USCG photo by
Petty Officer Jonathan R. Cilley

According to the San Franciso Chronicle, the whales may have turned inland from the ocean during their annual migration north, and the mother and calf have been in a turning basin that serves the Port of Sacramento since last Sunday.

Thousands of people went out of their way to see the whales Thursday and Friday, but Lt. Gov. John Garamendi urged residents not to come to the site, but instead to follow the ongoing situation through the media.

Several news organizations in California have been running contests to name the whales, and Friday Garamendi announced that the mother should be named Delta -- because of the location; and the calf, Dawn, because "this is a new beginning."

Efforts will restart Monday to lure the two back down the river using whale recordings broadcast underwater. The same tactic had been tried Thursday.

If this procedure doesn't work, federal and state officials may organize a herding operation employing a flotilla of boats.

Dr. Frances Gulland, director of veterinary science at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, told reporters that the whales are not in immediate danger, but the longer they are in this unnatural setting without sufficient food, the risk increases.

Apparently, both of the whales sustained injuries along the way, possibly caused by a ship propeller. These wounds don't appear to be life-threatening, but are still of great concern.

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Anonymous May 26, 2007 6:51 pm (Pacific time)

all petstores should donate krill for the whales if the mother is still nursing she will lose stregth soon and dawn will fallow or maybe seeing the krill will make them want to move on

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