Japanese Sea Ice has Trapped More Than Ten Orcas

Japanese Sea Ice has Trapped More Than Ten Orcas

According to a report from a Japanese public broadcaster on Tuesday, a pod of ten orcas near Japan’s major northern island of Hokkaido looks to be trapped by drift sea ice.

The residents of Rausu, a village on the island’s east, say that they are forced to wait for the ice to naturally break up because of the ice flows, thus it is still unclear what will happen to the killer whales.

An official from Rausu stated, “We have no choice but to wait for the ice to break up and for them to escape that way.”
Tuesday morning, a local fisherman noticed the imprisoned orcas for the first time and informed Japan Coast Guard personnel.

Seiichiro Tsuchiya’s drone footage of the imprisoned killer whales was posted on Facebook by Wildlife Pro LLC on Tuesday. The footage shows the orcas poking their heads in and out of the freezing water. According to Tsuchiya, the orcas seemed to be having trouble breathing and were unable to float freely.

“I saw about 13 killer whales with their heads sticking out of a hole in the ice,” Tsuchiya told. “They seemed to be struggling to breathe, and it looked like they included three or four calves.”

Nine orcas are said to have perished in a similar scenario that occurred in Rausu in 2005 as a result of becoming stuck in drift ice.

Owing to its profusion of species, the Shiretoko Peninsula, off the coast of Rausu, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005.

Sanchita Patil

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