NEWS

Ice-trapped porpoises struggling off Newfoundland town

03/17/2014 06:39 EDT | Updated 05/17/2014 05:59 EDT
About 40 porpoises, including mothers with their calves, have become trapped in ice that's been pushed against the coastline of southwestern Newfoundland.

Bert Osmond, a resident of Cape Ray who watched the pod of porpoises struggle over the weekend, said early Monday that he doubts the mammals were able to survive difficult conditions overnight.

"I don't say any of them survived, with the temperatures last night, -10, and the winds on land westerly," Osmond said.

"It just drove the ice more tighter, and just drove the ice over them, I'd say."

The porpoises struggled through the weekend to stay alive in shallow water with no easy way to escape from ice that is hugging the shores of Cape Ray.

Osmond said the porpoises are riddled with sores they've suffered from trying to escape.

"All you can see is water boiling up where they are trying get out and underneath the ice, trying to get air," said Osmond, who recorded video showing the porpoises corralled in the ice.

Osmond believes the porpoises became trapped when wind pushed the ice close to shore.

He said federal fisheries officials have been notified, although he said there is little they can do to break the ice apart.

Osmond said the water has become red with blood from cuts that the mammals are getting while trying to escape.

"They [have] no food, because where they're to is shallow water, and they're on the rocks and parts of them are sticking out of the water," he said, adding he has seen heartbreaking moments, particularly with the calves.

"There was two together, and the young one was almost like a little kid crying."

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