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Have you been following the B.C. killer whale calf rescue efforts?

Poll: Whale rescue

The odds of a two-year old killer whale calf surviving in the open ocean on its own and eventually reuniting with family members remain solid if a rescue team manages to free the orca from the Vancouver Island lagoon where she's been trapped for nearly a month, whale experts say.

A second attempt to rescue the orca was put on hold Friday when the young whale ate an 18-kilogram portion of provided seal meat for what was believed to be the first time since getting stranded in the tidal lagoon in Little Espinosa Inlet near Zeballos, B.C. The large-scale rescue effort is expected to involve boats, nets, divers and drones and centres on a plan to catch the female calf in a large net, place her in a sling, transport her to the nearby ocean and release her.

The video confirmation of the orca calf eating the seal meat gave the rescue team, comprised of Indigenous leaders, federal Fisheries Department specialists and fishing experts, more time to consider their options.

"I think there's a really good chance she can make it," said marine scientist Jared Towers, who has been working with the rescue team since March 23 when the calf became trapped alone after the death of her pregnant mother.

"She's proved very resilient here in the three-and-a-half weeks that we've known her to be stuck in the inlet," he said. "She's pretty healthy considering she hasn't eaten a lot during that time. She's behaving like a killer whale. She's calling. She's broadcasting that she's around and that's really what it's going to take for her to connect with other whales."

Towers, who studies the movements, behaviour and abundance of west coast B.C. whales with Bay Cetology, said he spotted Gray whales Friday in ocean waters near Zeballos, located more than 450 kilometres northwest of Victoria. But there was no recent sign of killer whales that may be related to the trapped calf.

The last confirmed sighting of members of the young orca's pod was more than two weeks ago in the Barkley Sound area south of Zeballos and near Port Alberni, he said.

The calf, about three metres long and estimated to weigh about 700 kilograms, has been named kwiisahi?is, or Brave Little Hunter by the local Ehattesaht First Nation.

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