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Trapped B.C. orca calf’s skin whitening, no sign of emaciation: Fisheries Department

Plans for a rescue with the Ehattesaht First Nation are still underway.

A young killer whale is stuck in a lagoon on Vancouver Island and its skin is turning white due to the low saltiness of the water. However, the Fisheries Department says the calf is active and doesn't show signs of being very thin.

A recent statement says the female calf's actions and energy levels have stayed the same.

They are still making plans for a rescue with the Ehattesaht First Nation.

The statement notes that the freshwater in the lagoon has made the calf's skin on its back turn white, but specialists are not worried about the short-term effects.

The Ehattesaht First Nation has given the two-year-old calf the name kwiisahi?is, which means Brave Little Hunter.

The calf has been stuck alone near Little Espinosa Inlet, about 450 kilometers northwest of Victoria, since March 23, when its pregnant mother got stuck on a rocky beach during low tide and died.

Supplies are arriving in the nearby village of Zeballos for a complex rescue operation, where experts plan to use a net to gather the calf into a sling in the shallows of the three-kilometer-long lagoon.

Then, they would lift the calf out and move it to an open-ocean net pen, with the hope of releasing it when its family of Bigg’s killer whales is nearby.

The department mentioned last week that an attempt to rescue the calf early this week was not likely.

They said that only essential personnel will have access to the lagoon during the rescue.

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