QUITO – A humpback whale which had beached and was stranded for hours on the island of Puna, close to the Ecuadorean city of Guayaquil, was rescued and returned to the sea on Friday with the help of multiple institutions.
The rescue operations were carried out jointly by the municipality of Guayaquil and the ministry of environment and water, as well as private and social entities, the city council said in a statement.
A video shared by the municipality on social networks showed how workers tried to push the whale back into the sea, while the animal was tied with ropes and part of its body was covered by a white tarpaulin.
Guayaquil Mayor Cynthia Viteri, who had reported the incident on her official handles, notified late on Friday that they had managed to rescue the mammal thanks to the cooperation of different bodies, including the environment ministry, local landlords, the navy, and seafood company NIRSA.
“Today is a wonderful day and these achievements restore the faith in humanity, thank you everyone!” said Viteri.
The municipality said that after applying different strategies and working for two hours, the different actors involved in the rescue were able to return the beached whale to the sea.
The fishing company Guayatuna also participated in the operation by contributing fishing nets and ropes for making a type of bed and towing the animal, which had to be pulled by a boat due to its weight.
A total of 37 people took part in the efforts to push back the whale, which were coordinated and joined by biologists from the city authority and the environment ministry.
It took seven hours for the whale to be returned to the Pacific Ocean once the alarm was sounded.
According to information provided by the authorities, the animal was circumventing the island and was dragged to the shore due to the tide.
Residents of the Puna island helped in the rescue by manually hydrating the whale with buckets of water from the sea and covering it with blankets, as extreme care was needed to save the life of the animal, which was stuck in an upside-down position.
The incident comes three days after a group of dead whales turned up at a beach in the Muisne district of the northwestern Esmeraldas province.