HOKKAIDO, Feb 07 (News On Japan) - A pod of orcas trapped by sea ice off the coast of Rausu, a town on the Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido, can no longer be spotted in the vicinity. According to local authorities, from Tuesday morning, February 6, more than ten orcas were enclosed in sea ice about 1 kilometer offshore, unable to move.
Takashi Kawabata, who witnessed the orca pod, shared his emotional reaction: "The parents were desperately trying to open a waterway, pushing against the ice. Seeing them struggling, bleeding in their efforts, was enough to bring tears to my eyes."
By the evening of the 6th, the orca pod could no longer be confirmed, and they have not been spotted since the 7th.
What happened to the orcas? Masataka Shirayanagi from the Rausu town office commented on their fate. "We haven't been able to confirm their presence. (Q. Could they have escaped?) I think the possibility is quite high."
Shirayanagi explained that the wind gradually widened the gaps in the sea ice, suggesting a high likelihood that the orca pod managed to escape.
Local residents acknowledge that orcas getting trapped by sea ice is a rare occurrence. "There have been instances in the past where several were found dead, caught in the ice," a local resident remarked.
The incident has attracted significant attention from Russian media as well, highlighting the concern for the "trapped orcas."
If the orcas have indeed managed to escape safely, it would be a significant relief. This situation underscores the challenges faced by marine wildlife due to unusual environmental conditions and the collective hope for their safe return to open waters.