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12 orca trapped in ice in Hudson Bay

11/01/2013 10:11:04 Should humans intervene to save the Hudson Bay orca, if it is at all possible?

January 2013. A family of a dozen killer whales that had been trapped in the ice in Canada's Hudson Bay appear to have moved off into some open water - for now. There was an outcry from people all over the world demanding that the Canadian Government do something to free the Orca, probably with an ice breaker, however wind and sea currents within the bay seemed to have moved some of the ice away and the Orca are no longer trapped.

However, this may well be only a temporary reprieve as as winters loses in most of the Hudson Bay will ice over, and there will be little open water or food to sustain the orca family. The orca have been caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, and are probably a 1000 kilometres away from safety at this time of year.

Wildlife Extra questions whether it would have been possible for anyone to do anything to save the orca if the ice hadn't moved, or whether we should even try. I don't know the area personally, but I believe the Hudson Bay completely freezes over in winter, and stays frozen until May/June. If this is true, and ice-breaker would have to bash a channel northwards into the Hudson Straight, and out towards Greenland, a journey of some 1200 kilometres.

Nature can be cruel, brutal even, but that is the nature of nature. This isn't a man-made situation, sad though it is, it is something that happens in the world, and always has. I believe that it is a leading cause of death for whales in Polar regions, where whales become caught by ice surprisingly often.

When something like this happens, there is always a silver lining, though it isn't always obvious. If a whale becomes caught under the ice in the Arctic and dies, there will be a host of organisms, worms and fish that will feed on the carcass, and these animals will in turn be prey for other species, that will in turn be prey for the next generation of orca and many other species besides. That is how the world works.

Man should not intervene
If this were a man-made situation, or something that threatened the survival of a species, then we should try to do something to help the whales. It isn't, so even if it were possible for humans to do something, which is probably highly unlikely, we should let nature take its course.

Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment

I understand what the author wants to point out

I actually don't entirely agree with Cliff. We have enough man-made problems affecting ecosystems and wiping many species off the Earth. It is of critical importance to direct the political agenda to those issues. I'm talking about stuff like overfishing, deforestation, and so on.

In that sense, although I feel sorry for these beautiful orcas and I agree that we should save as many animals as we can, we should not make it our focus to try to change the course of nature where (like in this case) the nature is actually doing what we want it to do: to act freely and without Human intervention.

So: should we save these animals while we can? Yes, from an emotional perspective.

Would we be doing nature, as a whole, any good by doing so? No, we'd be helping the orcas only.

So should this be a priority? No.

But should we still save the orcas? Yes if we feel that they are going to face a cruel death and we'd rather spare them that death, even if it means interfering with Nature.

Do I personally think that we should save these orcas? I agree with the author: depends on the resources available.

Posted by: el-gee | 15 Jan 2013 03:19:45

Give them help

I am for helping them. Nature throws bad things at us humans all the time and we help.

I helped this fawn below and it is a lifetime memory.

Bucky's Journey part 1

Bucky's Journey part 2

Boxing deer and dog

Bucky's Journey Photo-essay

Posted by: bccnp1 | 12 Jan 2013 13:07:48

Save the ORCA

I can't believe what I just read. Unbelievable!! Make no effort to save these ORCA because we might not succeed. What an uplifting, positive message to put forth for the World to see. Probably the most ignorant, asinine, stupid comment I have ever read on a Wildlife Support Website. Let Nature take it''s course. Let them become worm food, that's the way of the World. Take your defeatist attitude and shove it right were it belongs. We should be mobilizing and making every effort to free these Most Intelligent of All Animals. What is that you say, We have plenty of Orca and we can afford to let these DIE. Does DODO ring a bell? I don't know who the hell you are but you should look for a different field of en devour, maybe writing Obituaries. There is enough heartache and death in this world . We must do everything humanly possible to save every life that we can. Period

Posted by: Cliff Josephson | 11 Jan 2013 16:02:23


as canada are guilty of the most heinous crimes against baby seals, of course they should show some modicum of humanity for a change. canada is hardly a shining light in wildlife protection is it ? mankind takes from nature every day, so at least attempt to put a wee bit back even if it fails.

Posted by: dee donworth | 11 Jan 2013 13:17:15

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