New Rescue Plan For Wayward Whales
May 18 - KGO (KGO) -- Scientists are preparing for a new rescue plan because the first one isn't working to lure two wayward whales back out to sea. The two humpbacks are just outside the Port of Sacramento, 70 miles upriver from the Golden Gate Bridge. They were first spotted in the Delta on Sunday.
Today, the lieutenant governor decided to give the whales names, naming them Delta and Dawn. It looks like the two will be hunkering down here for the weekend.
The wayward whales teased the scientists this morning. Before the rescue mission started up again, the injured mother and baby humpback swam 200 yards down river without any prodding, only to turn back.
Dr. Frances Guilland, Marine Mammal Center: "That for us is a significant change that they have showed an interest in actually entering that canal."
So the rescue team set out by boat again. Video from the U.S. Coast Guard shows the special speaker being lowered under water, so more recorded humpback sounds can be played.
Bio-acoustic specialist Bernie Krause played sounds for the whales yesterday. He thinks it may not have worked, because these two whales, like Humphrey before them, came from a California-Mexico pod.
Bernie Krause, Bio-acoustics Specialist: "There's another group that goes from Hawaii, from Maui to southeast Alaska, and that's the group that I've been working with."
So today Krause switched to recordings from whales he hopes will sound more familiar. He's also trying different volumes, intervals and distances.
Ed Sweeney, U.S. Coast Guard: "If they do not respond today, the plan is to stand-down operations for the weekend. The Coast Guard will be here maintaining a 500-yard safety zone."
With such little luck using humpback sounds, Plan B is to put together a flotilla of 50 vessels Monday, then Tuesday herd the whales from behind with loud banging noises so that the animals move forward towards the San Francisco Bay.
Dr. Frances Guilland: "In the attempts to herd Humphrey out to the bay and did appear to cause significant adverse response that he moved ahead."
The scientists don't really want to resort to Plan B because that could over-stress the whales and they don't really want to work this weekend because there could be so many recreational boaters downstream.
For more information on the wayward whales' progress from NOAA's National Ocean Service, click here.
Watch unedited video of experts discussing strategies for luring the wayard whales below:
Watch edited portions of Monday's whale sightings from SKY7-HD below.
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