Nathalie Marie spotted something peculiar moving around on the shores of Nanoose on Sunday evening.
A young harbour porpoise had become stranded on the beach, its body covered in lacerations, likely from the rocks in the area.
Marie knew she had to do something, and a rescue effort was set off when she posted for help on Facebook, “because on a Sunday, who do you call?” Marie told CTV.
Thankfully, many people responded to the call, including a representative from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and a local woman who was an expert in marine mammals.
“Harbour porpoises are really common and this time of year there are a lot of harbour porpoise calves, and we do get a pulse of deaths this time of year,” DFO representative Paul Cottrell stated in the CTV piece.
Working together, and following the DFO worker’s instructions via phone, the volunteer rescuers were able to keep the baby porpoise calm and safely remove the fishing line off its snout.
They were then able to move the mammal onto a paddleboard and take it out into the ocean. The hope is that by moving it back into deep water, the porpoise will reunite with its mother eventually.
Local photographer Ben Bagley shared some dramatic photos of the “desperate effort” to save the porpoise from the shore. Commenting on his Instagram, he recalled “I helped out and followed with my drone as long as I could but I ran out of batteries just after the final release.”
Marie added, “It gives hope, it gives like joy-de-vivre. It shows together that we can pull great things together.”
The DFO praised the group for doing the right thing and recommends always reaching out to the Marine Mammal Hotline first whenever you come across a marine mammal in distress.