Crowds show up to rescue beached whale at Rainbow Haven
The whale got stuck on several sandbars as people worked to get it back into the ocean
About 100 people turned out to a Nova Scotia beach this morning to help rescue a beached pilot whale.
Some volunteers poured water on the whale as others shovelled out a path to the water at Rainbow Haven Beach in Cow Bay, which is about 15 kilometres east of downtown Dartmouth.
The Marine Animal Response Society (MARS) arrived with an inflatable raft that they put under the stranded mammal. Dozens of volunteers then dragged the whale to the water in a matter of seconds.
The tide was out, so eight people in wetsuits guided the whale to a reef that was a significant distance away from shore.
The whale became stuck on sandbars several times, but was eventually pushed out into open water.
Andrew Reid, the response co-ordinator for MARS, said he's not sure if the whale will survive, but the quick action of those who showed up improved the likelihood it will live.
"It's unusual for a pilot whale to be by itself. They're extremely social species, so when we get single, stranded animals, it is always a concern that there's an underlying health issue," he said.
Reid said the whale's body mass, breathing and reflexes all seemed fine.
"Hopefully, it can re-find its pod, its family and move on," said Reid.
Jen Jackson was one of the many people who worked to save the whale.
"It's a pretty amazing experience. It's pretty cool to see all kinds of people just helping and doing anything they can to save this mammal," she said.
Halifax Fire and paramedics also responded to the scene.