Local residents make plan to help whale stuck in Danish harbour

A ten-metre-long whale has been swimming near the harbour at Hobro in northern Jutland since November 27th.

Local residents make plan to help whale stuck in Danish harbour
The whale swimming off Hobro on November 28th. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

A group of local volunteers are now set to attempt to help the animal back out to sea.

Ivar Høst, a consultant with the Danish Nature Agency, said last week that the whale’s presence in the shallow area was a sign that it was sick and was unlikely to survive for long.

But Høst told Ritzau on Monday that the whale seemed in good condition, and that people in the town were preparing an attempt to save it.

“A plan is being put together by private individuals who want to help push it out of the fjord,” Høst said in reference to Mariager Fjord, the waterway in which the aquatic mammal appears to be lost.

“We have had our doubts as to whether this will be successful, but we don’t want to obstruct it. We will observe the attempt,” Høst said.

Susan Sand, one of a number of people who last week jumped into the freezing harbour to help free the whale after it got stuck, is the organiser behind the effort to help the animal back into open waters.

Sand approached Høst with her idea over the weekend, and the Nature Agency has since said it has no objections to the project.

A part of the plan will be to make noise in the water while others sail behind the whale in an effort to direct it back towards the sea.

“We have a plan, and it will be huge,” Sand said.

“We are going to actively use spectators at the harbour as part of the plan. We currently number 120-150 people who want to help,” she said.

The volunteer did not further elaborate on the plan, saying she would further consult with experts so as to avoid putting the whale at extra risk.

“The whale is at risk of dying, we know that, but we will try not to hurt it and we won’t physically touch it,” she said.

Sand also noted her disappointment that the Nature Agency declined to take part in the rescue action.

“I think it’s a shame nothing is being done (by the agency). It seems to me a little bit as though they don’t know what they should do,” she said.

Høst, who has viewed the whale on most days since it showed up at Hobro, said he had not seen any apparent change in its condition.

“It is swimming in the same way as before. I was there as recently as yesterday, and its condition does not seem to have worsened,” he said.

Biologist Carl Kinze told broadcaster DR on Monday that the whale is of the sei whale variety, and is not a northern minke whale as Høst initially thought.

“If an expert like Carl Kinze says that, I am happy to support his view,” Høst said.

The sei whale is a moderately endangered species, but the Nature Agency’s approach is the same, he said.

“As an authority, we will not try to save it. We are monitoring the situation and will allow nature to take its course,” he said.

READ ALSO: Whale helped free by passers-by after getting stuck at Danish quayside


Danish scientists to dissect humpback whale at aquarium parking lot

Researchers from Danish universities and the Natural History Museum are to participate in dissection of a humpback whale in Hirtshals.

Danish scientists to dissect humpback whale at aquarium parking lot
The whale after being brought to Skagen harbour. Photo: Scanpix

The seven-metre-long whale was found in a fisherman’s nets off Skagen on Monday and will be dissected in the parking area outside the North Sea Oceanarium in Hirtshals, the aquarium confirmed to local media Nordjyske.

Biologists and other experts are set to participate in the dissection and testing of the whale, which they hope will provide valuable new information about the animal’s interior.

Investigations will also include testing of a parasite found inside the dead whale.

Dissection will begin at 11am on Wednesday. The public is invited to come and watch the procedure, which will begin with around an hour's study of the animal's exterior before dissection begins, Nordjyske reports. 

The whale has been stored at low temperature since being brought to land at Skagen on Monday.

In addition to North Sea Oceanarium marine biologists, experts from the Fisheries and Maritime Museum in Esbjerg and from the University of Southern Denmark and Aarhus University will take part in the investigations.

A taxidermist from the Natural History Museum will also be present.

READ ALSO: Whale dies after ten days lost in Danish harbour