Rescuers to Focus on Monitoring Wayward Whales’ Health

RIO VISTA, Calif.– Scientists leading the effort to rescue two humpback whales that found their way into the Sacramento River Delta on May 13 have scaled back operations following intense herding efforts yesterday. The acoustical and herding techniques did not result in the outcome that the experts had hoped.

“This rescue effort is a fine balance between herding, which can cause stress to the whales, and caring for their injuries, which requires minimizing stress,” said Dr. Frances Gulland, the lead veterinarian. “Therefore, after an intensive day of herding yesterday, we believe the whales need a day without excessive stimuli.”

Monitoring vessels will stay with the whales during the next few days to assess their health and observe their behavior. They will try to get detailed images of the wounds over the next few days also.

Some vessels used for the whale rescue operations will be redeployed to recreational hotspots for public safety purposes over the busy holiday weekend. However, several vessels will continue to enforce the 500-yard safety zone around the whales, and the U.S. Coast Guard will relay messages to the boating public on Channels 16 and 22A.

An email address has been established for the public to provided feedback about the whale rescue efforts at More information can be found at

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  1. Jeanette Saffier says:

    What about dropping the sealife they feed on from the back of a boat as a trail (as a teaser?) then a large amount in a net floating from the back of the boat( to entice them)?

  2. John says:

    According to the NCEAS at UC Santa Barbara (

    A Humpback Whale’s diet is made up of krill (small shrimp-like organisms), plankton (tiny organisms that float in the water), and small fish. Humpbacks feed by swallowing a mouthful of water containing its prey. They use the baleen in their mouths to filter out food from the ocean water. Humpbacks can eat up to 4,400-5,500 pounds of food a day during feeding seasons.