Happy Beluga Rescue | Polarjournal
The Beluga baby froze in the wind and screamed wretchedly. Alexey Paramonov carried the baby to its mother and covered it with his jacket, so the Beluga mother calmed down. (Photo: Alexey Paramonov)

Three beluga whales are beached in the mouth of the River Uda on the Sea of Okhotsk. The waters in this area are known for its great tides. At low tide, the sea retreats up to two kilometres.

Beluga, or white whales are between three and a maximum of six meters long with a weight of 400 to 1000 kilograms. As a habitat, they prefer quiet coastal areas with moderate depths, especially bays or the estuary of larger rivers. (Photo: Alexey Paramonov)

“I received a call from a resident of the village of Chumikan at 4.30pm on October 14. She said there were several beached beluga whales at the mouth of the Uda after low tide. I was on duty and therefore on the spot,” said senior state inspector Alexey Paramonov. The beached whales were about a kilometer and a half from the sea. A mother and a beluga calf lay on the riverbed a short distance from each other, and another adult whale lay on the side some distance from them. It was a cold evening with cool wind and air temperature +2° Celsius, which cooled down to -2° Celsius at night.

Alexey Paramonov stayed with the belugas until the tide returned and they could safely reach the sea again. (Photo: Alexey Paramonov)

Alexey carried the baby to her mother, so the Beluga mother stopped worrying and he covered it with his jacket. Then he dug a pit under the other adult whale to put him in the right position. After that, Alexey spent the next seven hours chasing off birds and dogs from the belugas. This allowed the belugas to calm down and keep their eyes moist.

‘Alexey checked the animals and found that their skin had been injured already by birds, but it wasn’t that bad. He covered the trembling baby Beluga with his jacket. “He didn’t pour water on the animals because they were suffering from hypothermia and would otherwise have died,” said rescuer Bakht Mavlanov, one of the many residents who praised Alexey as a hero on his social media page.

The tide arrived at midnight and all three animals safely left the beach.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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