Orcas trapped in the ice in Canada

A pod of killer whales is trapped in the ice near a northern Quebec fishing village, using only a small patch of open water to breathe, say locals in the isolated community.

In a video posted to Facebook by Clement Rousseau, a local teacher, a number of the whales can be seen taking turns breaching in the small patch of open water: some torpedo straight up, several metres out of the water, while others surface porpoise-style to catch a breath.

Simeonie Nalukturuk, public safety officer for the nearby village of Inukjuak, confirmed no less than 11 whales are trapped.

“It looks quite beautiful, but we’re not sure exactly what to do right now because where they are is very rough; the ice condition is dangerous,” Nalukturuk told CTVNews.ca by phone.

The video was recorded on Tuesday, but the whales were still there on Wednesday morning, he said.

Nalukturuk said the whales shouldn’t even be in the area this time of year. “We’ve only seen those kind of whales in the summer time, never in the winter time.”

Killer whales are not all that common in the Arctic, although there have been a gradual increase in sightings since the 1950s, and that correlates with global warming.

The hole is not much bigger than a small pick-up truck, and Inukjuak Mayor Peter Inukpuk said it appears to be shrinking in the very cold temperatures there right now. Locals have been driving from hours away to see what’s happening and help in any way they can, using chainsaws and chisels to try to open the hole for the pod.

Full story and video: CTV News

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