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Good news in wake of sad whale stranding

Out of the sadness surrounding this week’s whale stranding at Ardrossan at least one story with a happy ending has emerged with news of a successful whale rescue at nearby Port Vincent.

On Tuesday, rangers from Port Adelaide’s Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary (ADS),responding to the mass stranding, learned of another sperm whale in shallow water off Port Vincent.

Cristina Vicente from the ADS said this news prompted her team to launch a search and rescue operation with assistance from the Department of Planning,Transport and Infrastructure.

“We set off from Port Adelaide around 3pm aboard the DPTI boat and as we approached the Yorke Peninsula coastline we received confirmation that a live whale had been spotted near Port Vincent,” Ms Vicente said.

“Bad weather and strong winds delayed us but we managed to find the 8-metre whale in the shallows just before 6pm.

“The tide was peaking and although the whale was able to move around, it was being rolled by the waves. It looked exhausted and had superficial scratches on its belly but otherwise seemed fine, which meant its chances of survival were good if we could get it back to deeper water.”

Ms Vicente said the team decided the best approach would be to use the boat to herd the animal towards deeper water before the high tide receded.

“The whale changed direction several times and was initially reluctant to move as it was touching the bottom and struggling to keep its balance in the very shallow water,” she said.

“We slowly got the whale moving in the right direction and as soon as it reached deeper water, it took off quickly and we were unable to spot it again.

“We stayed in the area for some time in case the whale tried to come back towards the shore but it didn’t reappear so we’re pretty confident that it headed for the safety of deeper water.”

A pod of sperm whales was spotted off Troubridge Island near Edithburgh a few days ago and the ADS team is hopeful that the rescued animal might have joined that group.