A dozen killer whales that were trapped under sea ice in Quebec, Canada, have reportedly freed themselves after the floating ice shifted on Hudson Bay, reports The Globe and Mail.
Twelve killer whales were found trapped in a small hole under a vast stretch of ice by a local hunter Tuesday, near the remote village of Inukjuak.
The frozen sea ice made it difficult for the orcas to escape. They were stranded in the hole for two days until Thursday, when it was found that the ice had shifted, creating a passage to open water up to six miles, and the whales were gone.
"Two men were sent to check on the whales around 8 a.m., and they found that a passage of water had been created, all of the way to the open sea," Johnny Williams, the town manager, told ABCNews.com.
"The wind from the north shifted yesterday. This is great news," Williams said.
Local villagers expressed happiness and celebrated the whales' escape. Earlier, the community had asked the Canadian government to send icebreakers in order to set the whales free. But the government rejected the demand, stating that the icebreakers were far away from the location where the whales were trapped.
On Thursday, the sea ice opened, paving a way for the whales to escape. Although the whales' escape brought relief to the locals, some are worried that the marine species might not escape from the clutches of the winter ice as they continue their journey.
Pete Ewins of World Wildlife Fund Canada, an expert in arctic wildlife, said that the killer whales might not make it through the waters, as thicker winter ice is yet to form on the Hudson Bay. The whales are more than 620 miles away from their final destination, he said.
"They got stuck [in Hudson Bay] and they're unlikely to get out," Ewins told The Globe and Mail. "These guys are on the edge and they might not make it through," he said.
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