On Sunday morning, a killer whale was discovered stranded on Marfells Beach in Marlborough, New Zealand. Around six meters in length and weighing approximately 1.5 tonnes, the junevile orca was named 'Lucy' by volunteers. Despite the feminine name, it's important to note Lucy's dorsal fin more closely resembles that of a male orca, not a female.
Staff from the Department of Conservation (DOC), marine mammal medics from Project Jonah (an environmental organisation dedicated to protecting marine mammals) and dozens of volunteers worked through the night to keep the orca cool and calm after initital attempts to refloat him failed. On Monday morning, 25 New Zealand military personnel arrived on the scene and spent several hours digging a trench to allow Lucy to swim back out to sea at high tide. By the afternoon, their efforts were rewarded and the young male was successfully refloated. Following the rescue effort, Project Jonah announced plans to organise a Marine Mammal Medic training course in the area to prepare locals for any future strandings.
Photos: Project Jonah (Last two images show the first attempt to refloat ‘Lucy’).