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First attempt to catch orphaned orca calf in Canadian lagoon unsuccessful

ZEBALLOS (AP) – An orphaned killer whale stranded in a remote Vancouver Island lagoon is proving difficult for rescuers to catch, an official at the site said on Friday.

Ehattesaht First Nation Chief Simon John said the capture operation is in the “demobilisation stage” after an unsuccessful attempt to rescue the two-year-old orca that began before dawn.

He said they plan to try again in a couple of days, and that rescuers were “standing down”.

The two-year-old calf has been alone in Little Espinosa Inlet for about three weeks after its pregnant mother was beached at low tide and died on March 23.

The pair got into the lagoon by swimming through a narrow and fast-moving channel connecting it to the ocean.

The First Nation said earlier that the rescue was launched at 5am because of favourable weather conditions.

The rescue plan involves trying to corral the female calf into a shallow part of the three-kilometre lagoon, using boats, divers and a net, before she would be placed in a large fabric sling and hoisted onto a transport vehicle.

The Ehattesaht First Nation deployed a canoe and other resources to try and rescue an orphaned orca at a lagoon near Zeballos, British Columbia. PHOTO: AP