A group of killer whales stranded in Canada’s Hudson Bay and stuck under layers of thick sheaths of ice, broke free early on Thursday morning. The plight of the group of killer whales had been followed closely for several days, as Canadian citizens living near Inukjuak, Quebec wandered out onto the thick ice to monitor the pod’s progress and see if there was anything the government could do to help the whales escape.

Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be much the Canadian government could or would do. According to a report from The Guardian, the whales were stuck in a 10 ft. space that allowed them only a little room to come up for oxygen. However, should the Canadian government have hired ice breaker ships to cut a path, that likely would have caused inhumane distress to the whales. The only legitimate ways to remove the whales from the pocket of ice would be to airmail them out—difficult considering the weather--or to provide bubbling equipment that would have kept the 10 ft. space intact. In the latter case, the whales might have starved to death before the ice melted, which doesn’t seem like a human option, either. On top of all that, any of the options would have likely cost plenty of money.

Luckily, the weather intervened, and the Inukjuak whales were freed from their prison of ice, naturally, on Thursday morning. Unforeseen weather conditions capably broke up the ice, freeing a path for the killer whales to move south in to warmer waters. Regardless, if you are worried about a similar situation like this occurring with killer whales, you really shouldn’t be. Normally, that type of whale is not even seen in the area, and even though changing weather conditions have allowed whales to move into the region during the warmer months, most leave the area before the weather changes for the worse each season.

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