Scientists use whale calls to coax lone orca from B.C. harbour

The Canadian Press

Published Thursday, August 2, 2018 8:00PM EDT

Last Updated Thursday, August 2, 2018 9:30PM EDT

COMOX, B.C. — Scientists have coaxed a large male killer whale out of a British Columbia harbour by playing recorded sounds of other orcas to the animal.

Department of Fisheries and Oceans officials say the transient killer whale known as T73B immediately responded to the recorded sounds of whales likely familiar to him and left the harbour and was last seen heading for open ocean.

DFO spokesman Paul Cottrell says the lone whale has been a frequent visitor to the busy harbour in Comox on Vancouver Island for several days and concerns were increasing for its safety and members of the boating public.

Earlier Thursday, DFO asked vessels to stay out of Comox Harbour unless necessary while the whale was in the area.

DFO whale scientist Jared Towers says the use of recorded whale sounds to convince a whale to move from an area has been done before, but never on a full-grown orca.

Towers and Cottrell say DFO officials and others assisting at the scene are ecstatic the whale has left the area and is out looking to reunite with its family members.

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