A pod of orcas have finally escaped from what was seen as an increasingly precarious situation. The heartbreaking images of orcas trapped in the ice have been shared around the world as people grew more and more concerned of the danger that these majestic animals faced.
Footage from members of the small community of Inukjuak, in Northern Quebec, showed the orcas continually surfacing for air, but unable to swim to open water. As the hours passed, the shrinking ice around them made their chance for survival ever more doubtful.
A day after the footage was first shared on social media; many Greenpeace supporters asked if there was anything we could do to help. Although none of our ships were in the vicinity, we hoped that pressure on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans would encourage them to act. In the end, the need for an icebreaker to open a path for the whales was not needed as volunteers from the community, who visited the site earlier this morning, announced that the whales had found a way out.
Whale protection: A larger issue
Greenpeace has been working to protect orcas in Canadian waters by addressing root problems that are threatening their survival. These issues have included: habitat destruction, increase tanker traffic and climate change. Similarly, this situation should not be viewed as an isolated incident as it illustrates a much larger issue.
Our new climate reality is changing ocean and ice patterns, making these kinds of situations potentially more likely in the future. This is what climate change looks like. Ecosystems disrupted, habitats on the move, species under stress.
This story has a happy ending and we are all ecstatic that these whales will survive, but orcas and other marine life still face an uncertain future. As threats like overfishing, ocean acidification and a warming climate, continue to grow, Greenpeace will continue to work on promoting solutions that will stop dangerous climate change and protect sensitive marine ecosystems.