Local firecrews, police and wildlife committee members in Karmøy, Norway, spent
yesterday afternoon trying to refloat a stranded orca. Officials decided against shooting the orca as no visible external injuries were found. They successfully moved the animal from shallow to deeper water but, despite attempts, were unable to completely refloat it or coax it out of the bay. Officials commented in an online article from Haugesunds Avis that if the orca was still in the bay today (Monday), they would reconsider euthanasia as an option.
Unfortunately, this was the case, with the orca's health having reportedly deteriorated over night. According to an online article published in the Aftenposten, Karmøy county’s wildlife manager, Peder Christiansen, stated in a press release that he had been in contact with the Food Authorities and the Fisheries Agency experts on cetaceans. Both agencies assessed that the animal's behaviour was not normal, and that it was very sick. They therefore recommended that the most merciful action to take would be to euthanise the orca.
According to Google translate, Christiansen said in an interview that officials "received advice and instructions from the Directorate on which caliber the killer whale was to be euthanized with" ("Naturforvalter Peder Christiansen i Karmøy kommune opplyser at de har fått råd og instrukser fra Fiskeridirektoratet om hvilket kaliber spekkhuggeren skulle avlives med").
Earlier this morning, Orca Aware spoke to British Divers Marine Life Rescue's operations manager, Stephen Marsh. Here's what Stephen had to say about killer whale strandings:
"It is very rare for orca to strand and in the UK we will only see them (strand) once every 10-12 years. Obviously where there is a larger population strandings may happen more frequently. Even so it is usually found that individuals that strand or are in danger of stranding are usually compromised in some way, whether caused by natural or anthropogenic influences."
For the full articles, please visit: http://touch.h-avis.no/nyheter/spekkhoggeren-er-avlivet-1.7837964 as well as http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/Vil-avlive-spekkhogger-pa-Karmoy-7167867.html#.UWLOfb8nU5g and for more information, please visit: http://www.h-avis.no/nyheter/spekkhogger-far-ligge-pa-grunn-til-mandag-1.7836414
A big thank you to journalists Elizabeth Batt and Candace Calloway Whiting for sharing this information. Candace reminds us that Norway is the birthplace of
wild-caught captive killer whale Morgan who currently resides in marine entertainment park Loro Parque (Tenerife): http://blog.seattlepi.com/candacewhiting/2013/04/07/an-orca-stranded-in-norway-home-of-the-captive-orca-morgan-please-keep-this-one-free/
Morgan was captured from shallow waters off the coast of the Netherlands in 2010, under a rehabilitation and release permit. However, she has been held in captivity ever since, despite on-going court battles between the expert orca scientists who have found much evidence to suggest that Morgan is a suitable
candidate for rehabilitation and release, and the for-profit marine park directors who disagree. For more information, please visit: http://www.freemorgan.org/
Orca Aware would like to thank supporter Rebecca Hornli Lundberg for her help with article translations.