29 July 2017
Community effort saves stranded whale

RANGERS and volunteers worked tirelessly to rescue a false killer whale in July, after Umbakumba locals raised the alarm.

Spear fishers discovered the unusual visitor in distress and thrashing about on a shallow sand bar inside Umbakumba lagoon.

Land and Sea Manager Adrian Hogg coordinated the work to keep the whale wet with buckets of water and prevent sunburn by covering it in wet sheets and blankets before "re-floating” it as the tide came in. 
But it again swam into trouble in shallow water at the far eastern end of the lagoon.

Adrian said he then realised it needed to be escorted out of the lagoon or it would weaken and become exhausted, stressed and eventually die.

With the help of a boat, they herded the whale to deeper water outside the lagoon before the tide dropped again. 

“It became stuck several more times and needed rangers to manually move it before making it through the narrow channel into the safety of the deeper waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria,” Adrian said.

He thanked rangers and volunteers for their tireless efforts.

IMAGE: Ranger staff Philip Mamarika, Jennifer Yantarrnga and Adrian Hogg prepare to re-float the stranded False Killer Whale at Umbakumba.