PEI

Rescue with a porpoise: Neighbours come together to save cetacean

P.E.I. fisherman J.J. Chaisson and some of his neighbours spent a good portion of yesterday waist-deep in salt water, hoping to save the life of a porpoise in distress.

Group of Islanders came together Monday to help a porpoise stranded in Lower Rollo Bay

Wallace Rose, area resident, wraps the stranded porpoise in a wet towel before carrying it back out to the water. (Submitted by Nova MacIsaac)

P.E.I. fisherman J.J. Chaisson and some of his neighbours spent a good portion of yesterday waist-deep in salt water, hoping to save the life of a porpoise in distress.

The marine mammal was stranded along the beach in Lower Rollo Bay, P.E.I. A group of eight to 10 Islanders tried several times to get it back into open water, but the porpoise seemed doomed to end up on the shore.

One of several attempts by local residents to get a stranded porpoise back into the water. (Submitted by Nova MacIsaac)

Chaisson said a conservation officer from the province advised him that the porpoise was likely tired, disoriented and having trouble navigating the shallow water and sandy shoals.

So Chaisson and his wife, Julie Chaisson, decided to drive the porpoise somewhere it might have a chance of finding deeper waters: the wharf in nearby Souris, P.E.I.

'It wasn't slimy at all'

"I got my sweater off and positioned it under the porpoise." said Chaisson. "I picked the thing up, did the football cradle towards the truck, got Julie to drive. I was in the back seat of the truck underneath the cap with the porpoise and we drove to Souris Wharf."

Rescued porpoise gets a lift to the harbour (Video submitted by Julie Chaisson) 2:59

Chaisson has spent decades working on the water as a fishermen, but said he's never had contact like this with a porpoise.

"It was pretty cool to have it in my arms," he said. "I'd never touched one before, you'd think it would be slimy, but it wasn't slimy at all, it was just a smooth texture."

'The right thing to do'

Upon arrival at the wharf, Chaisson used the slip to wade into the water and set the porpoise free.

A shot from above of the stranded porpoise, as rescuers attempt to coax it towards deeper water. (Submitted by Nova MacIsaac)

"Whether the thing lived or died I guess we'll never know," he said. "But it was kind of a breath of fresh air that there was that many people concerned for the poor little thing that was suffering."

"To some people it might seem a little silly that someone would put that kind of effort into saving something like that, but I just felt like it was the right thing to do so I did it."