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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

A pod of killer whales trapped in drift ice off northern Japan has apparently safely escaped

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TOKYO — A pod of killer whales that was trapped in drift ice off Japan‘s northern important island of Hokkaido, prompting concern from environmental teams, has apparently safely escaped, officers stated Wednesday.

The killer whales, often known as orcas, have been initially noticed by an area fisherman who reported them to officers within the close by city of Rausu on the northeastern coast of Hokkaido on Tuesday morning.

City officers traveled to the coast later Tuesday and noticed a couple of dozen whales coming up and down in a tiny hole surrounded by drift ice, about 1 kilometer (half a mile) offshore.

After analyzing drone footage filmed by a conservationist group, officers counted 13 killer whales there.

The officers returned to the coast Tuesday night and noticed the pod had moved to the north, and it was gone once they returned once more Wednesday morning, Rausu official Masataka Shirayanagi stated.

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Officers stated they consider the killer whales have been capable of free themselves from the drift ice as gaps between them grew.

“We consider they have been capable of escape safely,” Shirayanagi stated.

The footage, captured by a drone flown by a conservationist group and proven on NHK nationwide tv and on social media, prompted concern in and out of doors Japan concerning the whales’ circumstances and pleas for the Japanese authorities to assist. One group submitted a request to the Protection Ministry to mobilize an ice breaker to assist free them.

Though the trapped whales have been in Japanese waters, they weren’t removed from an island that’s disputed by Japan and Russia. Japan marked the annual Northern Territory Day on Wednesday to resume its demand for the return of the Russian-held islands.

The dispute over the islands, which the previous Soviet Union seized from Japan on the finish of World Struggle II, has prevented the 2 international locations from signing a peace treaty formally ending their battle hostilities. Moscow introduced it was chopping off negotiations with Tokyo over Japanese sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Chief Cupboard Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi informed reporters on Wednesday that killer whales are usually not designated as an endangered species in Japan and that officers have been monitoring the scenario whereas Japan and Russia communicated over the difficulty.

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