Every second that went by made the situation more perilous for the whale. Scores of people turned up, and each tried their own way to help it.
It was a magnificent creature but was left stranded and was likely doomed. No one wanted to give up, but the effort took its toll. Time was against them, and everyone silently wondered if the creature would survive.
Whales are known as the largest living animals on Earth. While there are many different species, one thing they all have in common is that they are usually enormous. As living giants, not many people get to see these fascinated creatures up close.
Sought after for their blubber and meat, the sad truth is that six out of thirteen great whale species are endangered. This means that pretty soon, these wondrous animals may no longer exist.
As if the whaling industry didn’t kill enough of these revered creatures yearly, they are sadly often responsible for their own demise. The phenomenon of beached whales is not new, but it still impacts their already crippled numbers.
There is no conclusive reason why whales get beached so often. However, some scientists believe that seismic testing may cause them to become disoriented.
Sperm whales are known as some of the most beautiful and graceful whale species around. They are also true oceanic giants as they can grow up to 65 feet in length and weigh up to 40 tons.
Despite their size, like most whales, they are known to be gentle and docile. However, as one of them found out the hard way, swimming too close to the coast can be disastrous.
The incident occurred off the coast of Xinjiang in China’s Zhejiang province. It started when fishermen reported seeing a massive whale near the beach.
As more reports came in, it was soon apparent that disaster was looming. Try as they might to avoid it; the worst scenario ended up playing out.
What started with a whale swimming too close to the beach ended with a colossal Sperm Whale being stranded. The animal looked a sorry sight as it lay there, barely able to move.
Naturally, the sight of it immediately attracted attention. Soon enough, scores of rescue personnel were on the scene, and the race was on.
Animal rescues have become a common occurrence around the world. In the age of social media, it seems that no one’s news feed is ever free of some touching animal rescue story or another from somewhere.
However, when the animal you’re trying to rescue is a massive whale, the word “ordinary” goes out the window. It wasn’t long before rescuers realized the sheer scale of the task at hand.
The whale in question was 60 feet long and weighed upwards of 50 tonnes. With such an enormous weight and girth, no matter how well-intentioned the rescuers were, it was clear that this would never be easy.
As the crews of people who joined the effort tried, it soon became apparent that this monster of a task was in a critical time crunch.
While the crews scrambled to find a way to move the gigantic animal, there was a more pressing task. The bulk of those involved had to form lines of people to keep the animal wet.
To do this, the rescuers filled buckets of water and continuously poured it over the whale. It was a slow, agonizing process but was also the only way to keep it alive until they could figure out how to move it.
The buckets of water were only sufficient to keep the whale from the brink of death. For a creature that lived in the ocean, its vitals would soon fade if it couldn’t be moved back into the water.
The other problem was that the whale could become exhausted by trying to move around too much. This meant the more energy it consumed, the faster it could become dehydrated and perish.
Time was fast running, and the situation was getting tense. Try as they might, the rescuers could not sustain the whale’s hydration enough to keep it alive much longer.
The clock began to wind down, and people were exhausted by the effort. Everyone was starting to lose hope that the whale could be saved. By now, it had been stranded for 21 hours.
Just when things were really starting to look bleak, the rescuers were given a much-needed boost. Incredibly, a team of ships joined the rescue effort.
After finding a way to strap the whale up to harnesses, the monumental effort finally paid off. Without much time left, the ships were able to drag the whale back out into the ocean.
Everyone cheered as their heroic, marathon efforts were rewarded. The whale was finally back in the ocean. However, its troubles weren’t over yet.
After all the exhaustion and dehydration it suffered, the next question was whether it was too tired to go on and begin swimming again.
After suffering the last tense moment of the day, everyone could breathe a sigh of relief when the whale began showing signs of life and eventually began swimming freely again.
This was finally proof that everyone’s efforts were not in vain. After coming so close to disaster, the whale had survived.
It had been a difficult and grueling experience for all involved. However, in the end, the rescuers triumphantly did their part in the fight to save these beautiful animals.
The determined and resourceful people of Xinjiang who did so much to save the whale’s life were rightly hailed and showed us what a significant difference could be made when humanity stands together for a common cause. In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.