Whales trapped by ice in the Arctic – unprecedented since the icy 1980s

Whales trapped in ice – 14 May 2021 – Credit FSBI National Park Beringia

Fifty beluga whales are stuck in Penkigngei Bay. Presumably, they have been in ice captivity since January, but specialists saw them only in April. The animals are fed and constantly monitored.

Hopefully, the Beluga whales, stuck in ice captivity in Chukotka can soon escape as thermometers began to rise and the ice begins to melt. However, when the fast ice will completely melt is still impossible to say – perhaps in 10 days – or perhaps this may happen at the end of May, the press service of the Beringia National Park reports .

According to a zoologist specializing in marine mammals, Grigory Tsidulko, beluga whales are active swimmers, thanks to which the polynya remained open and continues to expand.

They have already eaten most of the fish they could catch in the 4 months in the trap

Tsidulko believes that there is a chance of survival, since Arctic animals are adapted to periods without food. Currently, they live on fat reserves stored in summer and fall, and scientists feed them as well. Although the fish stocks of the Senyavinsky Strait are sufficient for the survival of belugas in summer, they have already eaten most of the fish they could catch in the 4 months in the trap.

In 1984, a large-scale tragedy occurred – several thousand beluga whales were stuck in ice captivity. Throughout the winter and spring, local residents used chainsaws to prevent the hole from closing. An icebreaker was even called to help the animals, but most of the belugas did not follow him and died.

Chukotka, Russia, is located in the extreme northeastern portion of Siberia. 

Russia map showing location of Chukotka – Credit Wikipedia


Thanks to Alexey Parkhomenko in Russia for this link

13 thoughts on “Whales trapped by ice in the Arctic – unprecedented since the icy 1980s”

  1. And this is why the alt-left renamed “global-warming,” because it isn’t, which was a stroke of desperation or genius – after all – ANYTHING, any type of weather can be called “climate-change.” Sunny day? Climate-change. Rain? Climate-change. Ice, sleet, snow, fog, earthquake, divorce… yeah, climate change.

  2. Oh, the poor whales! If it weren’t so awful, it might be funny, but it isn’t.
    I hope a thaw comes soon enough for them to get out of there.

  3. As mentioned in the description of the 80’s incident,
    “You can lead a whale to (open) water, but you cannot make him swim.”
    Early 80’s were the tail-end of the mid 70’s “New Ice Age”.
    That pattern has begun to repeat itself now, as most who were alive back then (Yo!) remember.

    • I remember very well. But that was the bottom of the 1940-1980 cooling period. If we are back to 1980 now, then a more severe cold period is ahead.

  4. Guess they can’t complain about the Polar bears being hungry since there is plenty of ice and snow as well as trapped whales!
    Unfortunately, Mother Nature is a “B” word! However, most of us expected more ice and snow due to the lack of sunspots

    Meanwhile, where is “Greenpeace” and all their helpers? Why are they bugging the whale boats when they are needed up there to pick and shovel out the ice so the whales can escape?
    Oh! That’s right! Russia showed them what part of Siberia they would live in, with no shoes, if they ever messed with them again!

    • I remember that in the ’80s incident, there were indeed polar bears that hunted at the breathing holes and managed to drag out and eat some of the whales (presumably the young’uns.)

  5. I recall that, about 30 years ago, three “Right Whales,” the species that has Baleen and not teeth, were trapped under ice off the coast of Alaska. There were three of them. Young juvenile whales. About 30 feet in length.

    The “townspeople,” otherwise the local Eskimo population, were mobilized to “save the whales.” Chain saws were used to cut an series of openings in the ice. With the intention (or the hope), that the whales could be lead from opening to opening. Until they reached open water. One whale died. The surviving two made it to open water.

    I recall that this made international headlines. But I also recall an statement, translated from an French newspaper, which asserted, in the dry, sardonic cynical style of “traditional” French journalism, that the entire incident was merely an example of the sort “environmental cretinism of which the United States has the secret.”

    I will note that, within the current environmentalist “climate,” when ice caps are apparently, “melting,” and glaciers are in full retreat, that very little has been made of this situation in the international media.

    One the other side of the issue, stories of whales, pilot whales in this instance, stranding themselves off beaches in Australia and New Zealand, make international headline news. I wonder why.

  6. This has been going on since the beginning of time.
    Why are people feeding them?
    This does not help to improve the species.
    Misplaced altruism is still misplaced.

    I imagine in a more civilized time people saw the trapped whales as easy pickings.

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